Tag Archives: book recommendations

The Price of Integration

One of the writers that I follow on Instagram has a book that was just released today and in her IG live video this morning, she talked about the price of integration. Jen Hatmaker is the author of multiple books, most recently Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire. I have bought more books in the past year than ever before, but I choose to spend money very intentionally…and that includes supporting other writers.

While I am definitely not religious, I have no problem reading the work of those who are. Because I don’t get stuck on words. I am reading for the intent and message beneath the content. I bought a copy of Jen’s most recent book which is on its way to me now.

So, this morning, while listening to Jen have a conversation about the price of integration….I completely resonated. The price of integration is going to cost you people and connections.

It was right around this same time last year that some unexpected events removed some people and prior connections. Which left me crying on the kitchen floor the entire last weekend of April last year.

The price of coming even more deeply back to myself and integrating even more fully into myself: it was steep. But it’s one that in reflection, I am happy to have paid.

In so many conversations lately, it has come up how crazy it is that we didn’t even know one another a year ago. It turns out that paying the price of integrating more fully into myself cleared a lot of space for new connections to arrive.

Connections that are undeniably aligned with me in highly collaborative and creative ways. I am involved in such a wide variety of creative projects and relationships that did not exist a year ago. I could not have predicted any of these experiences. And I’m proud of myself for showing up for all of them.

It was absolutely awful to experience the loss of some prior identities last year. A year later…I can admit that it did indeed clear space for brilliant new partnerships and opportunities. Partnerships and relationships that I could never have imagined existing.

Copyright©2020 by Diane McDermott, All Rights Reserved, “The Price of Integration”

The content of this blog is the original content of Diane McDermott, Between the Lines LLC Ghostwriting Services, founded in heartfelt alignment, joyful integrity and creative expression

Book Recommendation: Powerful Memoir of Grief, Trauma, and Healing

I read a lot of memoirs, and I have read some really beautiful ones in the past year (I’ve posted about many of them here under the book recommendation category). The one I just finished, The Choice: Embrace the Possible by Dr. Edith Eva Eger is without question one of the most exquisite memoirs I have ever encountered.

The friend who recommended this book warned me that it is not light reading. At the time, I shrugged, saying “I’m willing to read about heavy topics.” Until the experience of reading this book coincided with my own experience of post-traumatic stress. And I completely lost any tenuous grip on emotional control.

This book is so powerful because it’s a very honest, often raw, account of the author’s life experiences. It is explicit in detail and messy as hell. And yet, that’s part of what I loved about it so much.

Her early experiences include the Holocaust. Her later experiences find her navigating relationship challenges and beginning a career in psychology. So many of us who are drawn to psychology and psychotherapy are motivated by an intense awareness of our own wounds; and an equally intense desire to heal.

This book moved me in ways I did not anticipate, but am so grateful to have experienced. Certainly, it added to my recent moments of crying and feeling my own grief; and I’m good with that. I have cried more in the past two weeks than in the past year. Which was not anticipated…but arrived anyway.

Our stories are so powerful, and it is very healing to share and have them witnessed. This book absolutely made me cry and it broke my heart; it also brought a message of hope and resilience.

This is a beautiful memoir of an extraordinary life that has so much wisdom and insight many of us can relate to; that is the power of choosing to share our stories. There is healing, not just for ourselves but for others as well, in choosing to shed light on the truth of what we have experienced.

Everyone has a story. I am witness to so many people’s stories, and at the same time, I allow others to witness mine as well. Grief and trauma are real and so is the healing power of sharing our stories. Post-traumatic stress looks different for each of us, and we all navigate it in our own ways; it’s not linear, nor is it easy.

I cannot recommend this beautiful book enough. It is not always easy to read, but it is full of hope, resilience, and is more than anything a story of healing. Dr. Eger is right, we cannot choose what we experience, but we always have a choice as to how we respond. That awareness alone is powerful beyond measure.

Copyright©2020 by Diane McDermott, All Rights Reserved, “Book Recommendation: Powerful Memoir of Grief, Trauma, and Healing”

The content of this blog is the original content of Diane McDermott, Between the Lines LLC Ghostwriting Services, founded in heartfelt alignment, joyful integrity and creative expression

Book Recommendations for Writers

I readily admit that I am currently avoiding my own writing, and using the writing of others to do so; no apology will be forthcoming.

I just finished/devoured Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and it is by far the most exquisite description I’ve ever encountered about what it is really like to be a writer. It left me absolutely breathless and speechless with resonance and yes, yes, YES! That’s exactly what it’s like, all of the damn time.

At one point she writes “There is ecstasy in paying attention.” Oh yes, there is indeed much ecstasy in embodying that way of being in the world. There’s also angst, pain, frustration, and heaviness…but as writers we don’t get to separate the two. One coin, two sides; the duality of life experience.

If you love someone who is a writer, and have ever wondered what life is like for them, I highly recommend this book. It is illuminating.

The other book I’m only about halfway through (but I own it so am reading at a slower pace) is The Universe F*cking Loves Me by Sara Arey. She’s a local Charlotte writer I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. In fact, she and I have some mutual friends in common.

Anyone who knows me at all isn’t surprised that I absolutely adore the book’s title. It first came up in conversations months ago, then while at a recent shopping event, I turned around to find Sara standing in front of me at a table with copies of her book.

Not one to ignore such clear signals, I promptly gave her my credit card to purchase both the book and the deck of cards she created to go along with it. It is an outstanding book and I love being able to promote the work of a fellow local writer. The cards also come with a super cute case which makes it easy to take them anywhere as reminders.

Sara shares very personal life experiences, and I know how much strength it takes to do that. She is a lovely person, a talented writer, and her life experiences may inspire you. They’ve certainly inspired me.

One of the sayings on the cards is “I choose to welcome Divine help and synchronicity.” At this point, synchronicity and I are very well acquainted. And yet, we continue to become more deeply connected. While in New Orleans, one of my Lyft drivers is also a writer and we could have talked all day long. We’ve since been in touch, encouraging one another’s writing. In fact, we had both chosen the same deadline for ourselves, and we’ve both pushed said deadline a little farther out; there’s something cool about the date 2.20.2020. As I write this on 2.2.2020.

Over the course of the past year, one of the most beautifully unexpected gifts has been the discovery of, and connection with, other writers. The ones I connect with are all so wonderfully open, encouraging, collaborative, and supportive. These people and connections who continue to show up in my life are immeasurably priceless to me. I don’t have words to adequately express my appreciation for them.

Writers tend to also be readers and in my experience are one of the richest sources of book recommendations. These two books are ones I cannot recommend highly enough, whether you are a writer or just know someone who is.

Copyright©2020 by Diane McDermott, All Rights Reserved, “Book Recommendations for Writers”

The content of this blog is the original content of Diane McDermott, Between the Lines LLC Ghostwriting Services, founded in heartfelt alignment, joyful integrity and creative expression

Recent Book Recommendations

In the interest of consolidation, I’m sharing some of my recent favorite book recommendations. These are ones I absolutely loved for one reason or another and as a writer/reader, I’m always looking for new books to enjoy.

Over the past several years my reading has shifted noticeably toward more fiction, though I read plenty of memoir, and am as likely to read on a topic such as codependency or depression as one of pure fictional content. My writing is life experience driven as it’s always stranger than fiction. My reading knows no such bounds.

An absolute favorite memoir is Know My Name by Chanel Miller. From reading the back cover, I knew I’d love it; I could have written the exact same words about my own life experience. This book was at times very difficult for me to read and brought up some unexpected memories. The story of sexual assault, the criminal justice system, trauma and healing are beautifully expressed. I have tremendous respect for just how much strength it took for Miller to speak and share her story. If you are a woman, or if you care about a woman, this is a powerful book.

Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo surprised me with how much I liked it. My inner New Yorker appreciates her Jersey girl style and found myself nodding along with so very much that she shared. Including our tendency to reply using “fuck it” as a response. I’ve been on her email list for years and always enjoy her content, this book was no exception. At the time I read it, things were a bit crazy. I ended up reading it while waiting to board a plane: any book I’ll willingly read in an airport is stellar.

11/22/63 by Stephen King. This one really shocked me by how much I loved the story. I don’t think I’ve read any of his other novels and was very skeptical even as I began reading. It was a great story, one that pulled me in and I couldn’t wait to see how it ended. The characters had depth and very quickly became so real. Enjoyed it far more than expected and glad I took a chance on something different..thanks to whoever recommended it.

The Education of an Idealist: A Memoir by Samantha Power took me a while to get into, but a third of the way through loved reading her story and perspective. I don’t follow politics and had no idea who she was, I was most drawn to her personal perspective. Very much related to how she met and connected with fellow ambassadors – it’s what I do every single day; listen to people’s personal stories.

Lastly (for now) We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby absolutely floored me. I love her writing style, her sharp wit, and devoured this book. True: New Yorkers have Chicagoans beat with directness, and we’re not mad just focused. Those Michigan people are definitely different, and don’t get me started on those in the south. Brilliantly written and such honestly authentic expression. Definitely my favorite recent writer discovery.

I read ALL of the time and am always open to recommendations. What have you recently enjoyed?

Copyright©2020 by Diane McDermott, All Rights Reserved, “Recent Book Recommendations”

The content of this blog is the original content of Diane McDermott, Between the Lines LLC Ghostwriting Services, founded in heartfelt alignment, connection and creative expression

 

 

 

A Powerful Memoir: Once More We Saw Stars

As someone who has written about my own experiences navigating through and beyond grief and trauma, I have a deep appreciation for the work of others sharing their own stories.

Once More We Saw Stars by Jayson Greene is a exquisitely beautiful, genuine, heartbreaking, and hopeful story involving the sudden death of a child. I could not put this book down.

I loved his writing style and from start to finish, this book is powerfully honest. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Grief, loss, and trauma are not experiences we’re taught how to navigate through and beyond. One of the most frustrating aspects of such journeys can often be the fact that there simply is no map.

Memoirs are a favorite genre of mine, and I read a lot of them. This book is by far one of the most exceptionally brilliant memoirs I have ever read. As one who writes from my own life experience, I know how healing and vulnerable it is to share such deeply personal stories.

This book is not simply about grief, loss, or trauma. It is absolutely a much larger message and illumination of  the true nature of courage, resilience, love, and survival; not despite the human experience but within it.

The chapter about the author and his wife’s experience at Kripalu held a personal message for me. In a chapter that mentions being receptive to signs, I received confirmation that it is indeed possible to stay somewhere other than the Kripalu grounds. I’d wondered about that while considering going to an upcoming event there involving Cheryl Strayed, a writer whose work I very much admire. The recommendation at the top of Once More We Saw Stars, was written by….Cheryl Strayed.

The more that I continue to step into my own writing, the more I continue to be inspired by the stories of others.

Copyright©2019 by Diane McDermott, All Rights Reserved, “A Powerful Memoir: Once More We Saw Stars”

The content of this blog is the original content of Diane McDermott, Between the Lines LLC Ghostwriting Services, founded in heartfelt alignment, connection and creative expression