writing

New London Day Article
5 star review | art | gratitude | happiness | interview | kindness | marriage | Sabin Howard | Sabin Howard sculpture | writing | WW1 Memorial

New London Day Article

Of the rainy morning, drinking my coffee: heavy cream and coconut sugar. I am thinking about the week passed.

Due to PR efforts for the National World War I Memorial that Sabin is sculpting, there’s an article about me in The New London Day. Perhaps now it’s the The Connecticut Day.

The writer, Lee Howard, no relation to my husband, wrote a wonderful article about my participation in the WWI Memorial as a model in the relief. Howard is a skilled writer and the piece is lovely–warmly written and respectful. He quoted me correctly. He portrayed me with both kindness and some playfulness.

I particularly liked that he quoted what I said about appearing in Sabin’s amazing relief:

“All told, it’s pretty cool,” she said. “Perhaps (someday) one of my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren will stand in front of the relief and look at my face and feel our connection.”

Colette, A Review
5 star review | art | authors | beauty | excellence | gratitude | how to write a book | language | literature | love | marriage | redemption | vulnerability | writing

Colette, A Review

On a recent Saturday, my husband and I enjoyed date night at the Paris Theater. We watched the film Colette.

I’m a novelist and so the film held a special resonance for me. It’s always intriguing for me to see how other women do it–how other women wrestle with the great fanged beast of their need to write–how other women embrace the struggle of creativity and storytelling alongside the demands of partnership and self-actualization.

For me, there is no self without writing. If I’m not writing, it’s because I’m in a no-self space. That’s not a wholesome place for me.

Colette is turned on to writing by her husband Willy, who calls himself, in the film, a “writing entrepreneur.” He cheats on her and tells her to pen her thoughts and then proclaims her work to be worthless. Then he re-reads it and loves it. He pores over her prose with her and teaches her to edit and revise. At least in the film, he is instrumental to her discovering her talent.

Willy publishes her book under his own name. When it becomes successful beyond his wildest dreams, he locks her in a room to write another book.

Colette slowly wakes up to her own worth. Her self-awareness grows as she uncovers her individual sexuality. Her husband cheats but she begins to sleep with women–which he permits, as long as she doesn’t sleep with other men.

It’s comical when the husband beds her paramour and they both carry on with the libidinous lady in question.

There’s a kind of leftist-liberal-proselytizing fabric to this movie; the husband is an exploitative patriarchal scumbag and noble, victimized Colette naturally finds a supportive woman partner/lover. So many films these days are taken over by the need to preach leftist liberal values. I wish more films would focus on good storytelling and leave preaching propaganda to the politicians. It’s boring.

When a story delves deeply into the human condition, the spectrum of left-right, liberal-conservative falls away. What is left is meaning. That meaning is far more moving, far more convincing, than even the best propaganda.

In this case, the film transcends the current Hollywood piety. After all, Colette was a French novelist. She’s an archetypal French woman novelist. She actually lived the life and she did so before it was appropriated by a certain tiresome sector of post-modernist feminists–as if being a traveling mime with a woman lover is the only way to be a woman novelist.

I admire Colette but her choices wouldn’t work for me. I would never have been happy or fulfilled without children and a husband. Being a mother and wife contributes to, and enhances, my fruitfulness.

As painful as my situation is with one of my beloved daughters and with a dearly loved husband who took off for the antipodes, putting his own art before the family who needs him–despite everything–I was always supposed to be a wife and mother. And a novelist. And lately a screenwriter.

Willy exceeds his role, too, I think. Yes, he’s selfish, self-indulgent, egotistical, and riddled with vices. He’s also the fulcrum on which Colette’s own writing turns. He’s a catalyst for her. I find that real life is like this, that people are like this: marbled through with light and dark. Variegated. Bittersweet.

People are complex. They enter our lives bearing gifts, some laced with poison, some with nectar. Often the most difficult characters in our stories are our best teachers.

And beyond the propaganda is the story of a woman coming to own her own voice.

This is the essential struggle for a woman novelist: owning her own voice. Even for women who come across as strong, as I seem to, there’s vulnerability at the root. How do we embrace, own, and integrate that vulnerability with our creative talent?

film Colette

 

 

 

Returning to Source and Writing Again
anarchy | apocalyptic | authors | beauty | dystopian | eros | errors | friends | gratitude | happiness | hard work | healing | hope | horror | I am | kindness | life and death | life model | love | marriage | maturity | missing people | passings | real friends | redemption | sex | spiritual teachings | vulnerability | wholeness | writing

Returning to Source and Writing Again

Write again, they are telling me. You must write, Traci. 

It’s the new theme: writing again.

The past twelve months have been excruciating. I am struggling.

It’s been a year of comings and goings from my life; intermittency like a suddenly thrown grenade blew up my peace of mind. It has been a year of travel, loss, loneliness, bad advice, uncertainty, sadness, emptiness, tough choices, betrayal, humiliation.

It has also been a year of joy: the birth of my beautiful grandson, deepening friendships, richer closeness with my sweet middle daughter. A lot of yoga! Books newly cherished. A beautiful place that has come into my consciousness as a home.

Change is afoot.

Write again, my husband says, as if that will erase everything that has passed between us. His eyes are soft and his voice is loving as he counsels me. Write again. He holds me often throughout the day.

His hands on my shoulders, my arms, my breasts, my belly help me. He is kind. And I am still struggling.

In every moment brims the fullness of the spiritual imperative: We are here to love, to learn, to work, and to play. We are here to choose love over fear.

Why then this heart ache?

For what reason did I come here? I’ve asked myself a thousand times over the last span of time.

What is the imperative that I am mindful of it?

How have I betrayed myself?

I suspect it’s the effort to answer these questions that will heal me. It’s the journey itself that will return me to Source–whatever the destination may be.

 

 

Yoga Teacher Training
art | beauty | excellence | freedom | friends | gratitude | hard work | healing | vulnerability | wholeness | writing | yoga

Yoga Teacher Training

Yoga Teacher Training

A few months ago, a long time friend came for dinner. She’s an American living elsewhere. She’s brilliant and amazing and full of knowledge, an expert in her field.

But she has forgotten how to listen.

She talked over my husband and me and couldn’t hear any of our ideas or opinions. Now, this lovely lady is a wonderful person in a thousand ways. She’s a repository of information about the fascinating field of the esoteric, because she has studied metaphysics for decades. Her whole life, really. But there was this thing missing from the way she related to us and it was receptiveness. Her vast knowledge has become a bulwark through which no one else’s thoughts and experiences could penetrate.

That dinner made a big impression on me. I don’t want to be like that: ossified behind my own learning. I want to be open and flexible and receptive. I want to hear other modes of thought, other people, even when I have education and experience that contradicts what they think. Even when it’s hard to listen, which it can be, because I’m an opinionated person with a great deal of education.

I thought of this dinner when I signed up for Yoga Teacher Training at Three Sisters Yoga; as the body goes, so goes the mind. A flexible, open body will yield a flexible, open mind. I was also thinking of the next three decades of my life. I don’t want to teach yoga but I do want to invest in the training to nourish my body and to create flexibility, strength, and stamina for the next thirty years.

The program at Three Sisters Yoga is meticulously thought out and the teachers are terrific: warm, engaged, present. But already I have encountered opposition to my own internalized systems of thought. Because Yoga considers itself a Science, and I studied and used a different system that also considers itself a science. I studied Healing Science for 4 years at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing (BBSH). I had a practice as a healer and saw clients for a decade.

The BBSH was a pivotal, seminal experience for me. It is integral to who I am as a human being and to my writing. Most of my characters are healers in one way or another.

This thing about wholeness haunts me.

I seldom speak of the BBSH now. When I was at the school and for years after I graduated, I went around talking about it a lot. It was amazing: there existed other people like me who were attuned to the subtle worlds! Who perceived the subtle worlds! I was newly out of the closet as an energy sensitive and exulting in the liberation.

But I got tired of head-blind non-healers projecting weirdness onto me–as if it isn’t our birthright as souls taking on flesh to see, hear, feel those other, primary realms.

Also, there’s a lot of acting out at the school. The BBSH doesn’t always act in integrity. Graduates and teachers of the BBSH don’t always act in integrity. It was upsetting to me that when someone questioned the school, the school’s response was to squash that person and to decree, “You’re in resistance.” Translation: you’re bad.

There was a point at which almost all of the teachers with open hearts were either fired or chased out of the school. I did not respect that.

The founder of the school Barbara Brennan sued people over her healing techniques, an action which lacked integrity. In the field of science, scientists throughout history have built upon one another–that’s what leads to progress, to the slow and meticulous accumulation of scientific knowledge. Newton didn’t try to own gravity. But Barbara wanted to own her healing techniques, some of which had been developed by other people. She had a paranoid streak which she never owned but which was clearly visible to anyone not submerged in the cult of her personality.

Nor has the BBSH been open and honest about what’s going on now with Barbara: she’s institutionalized with Alzheimer’s. Students and graduates deserve to know this. Barbara Brennan isn’t just a private figure; she’s also a public figure. She put herself on the world stage with schools in Europe and Japan. She has forfeited some of her right to secrecy.

I had a lot of problems with the conduct of Barbara and the BBSH. Nonetheless, I remain grateful to both. Barbara’s vision was extraordinary, both her high sense perception and her larger sense of the possibilities for healing techniques in the world. The BBSH was a left brain mystery school. It was a gift and a blessing for someone like me, who has a good working intellect as well as access to the subtle realms.

Barbara herself was extraordinary as a human being. Before enrolling in the school, I attended a lecture she gave. I walked up to her to have her sign my program, and as I approached her, my energy bumped up. She had that affect on me. She smiled at me and her eyes got dreamy as she gazed at me. She wrote, “Traci, Keep letting out your love, beauty, and sweetness.”

In my sophomore year at her school, Barbara read my field in front of the class. She said, “One day everyone will know that you have a secret, private inner world full of butterflies.”

As someone who has spent a lifetime with a secret, private inner world full of butterflies, I was shaken, startled, and freed to have her see me and validate me.

I owe Barbara a debt of gratitude. Also, I used BBSH healing techniques effectively in my practice.

This circles back to Yoga Teacher Training and my desire to remain open and flexible because already some of the Yoga precepts that are taken as “true science” butt up against my training and experience as a healer.

Can I stay open and flexible and allow divergent schools of thought to live in me simultaneously? It will be a challenge. Of course, it’s only fun if it’s a challenge–and I love to have fun.

Yoga Teacher Training

 

Glowing Reviews of THE YEAR OF LOVING
5 star review | authors | book promotion | book reviews | excellence | happiness | independent publishing | literature | love | marriage | romantic fiction | vulnerability | wholeness | writing

Glowing Reviews of THE YEAR OF LOVING

Glowing reviews of The Year of Loving

Two great review sites recently put up excellent reviews of my latest novel THE YEAR OF LOVING.

The first site is Mrs. Mommy Booknerd’s Book Reviews. What a cool title for a book enthusiast’s site, and what a terrific model for her children! She’s publicly proud to be a Booknerd. Kudos to Mrs. Mommy.

Mrs. Mommy Booknerd wrote,

This book is a realistic romance that will have you guessing and touches on many areas…love, motherhood, life, struggle, romance, friendship, betrayal and so much more.  The main character is raw and harsh, but also funny and smart.  This book is one that romance readers will certainly enjoy.
The other review was posted by reviewer HCharju on a big review site called Night Owl Reviews. I like Night Owl Reviews, a lively, appealing site with great integrity and great reviewers.
 
HCharju selected THE YEAR OF LOVING as a Top Pick and wrote a beautiful review, saying,

The rawness of this story pulls at your heart and fills you with so many conflicting emotions. Her first ex-husband, and the father of her children is such a hateful and petty man. The way he turns the children against her and lets them do whatever harmful thing they want makes me want to strangle him. I would think his current wife would get tired of all the court cases and BS but she seems to be of the same ilk as he is. The second husband doesn’t seem too bad, just a little narcissistic and immature–Pretty much a perfect rebound guy, but not great husband material. It does sound like he has an awesome talent which leads me to believe that he will be going places.

The struggle with the daughters is heartbreaking. I’m not sure how things will end there but, I felt bad when Sarah tried so hard with no positive response.

Whenever I finish a novel, I email HCharju and ask respectfully for her to review my new book. She’s a thoughtful reader and a reviewer who sees to the heart of a story. I’m lucky to have discovered her.

Night Owl Reviews

Two New Reviews of THE YEAR OF LOVING
5 star review | authors | book reviews | excellence | gratitude | happiness | writing

Two New Reviews of THE YEAR OF LOVING

Two New Reviews of THE YEAR OF LOVING

The last several news cycles seem to have been dominated by politics. It’s been hard to get some traction with my new novel THE YEAR OF LOVING.

But early this morning a gracious email arrived from a blogger whose reviews I really enjoy. Her name is Jen Thorpe and she writes for No Market Collective. She said she wanted to capture the emotional quality of the story without giving away too many details about it. The link to her review was attached.

What a great review! She wrote, in part:

The Year of Loving is what I would describe as a romance novel with a drama rolled into it. There are some hot sex scenes to look forward to. Some situations are presented in quirky, amusing, ways, which made me giggle. (The “meet cute” at the start of the book had me laughing!)

In addition, the book includes some painful moments, any of which could set the reader off on a “good cry”. The story runs the range of emotions, which makes the book feel a bit like a sample box of chocolates. We all have our favorites, but the ones we tend to avoid are good, too.

This was a really fun and thoughtful review. I especially loved the comparison to a sample box of chocolate, and anyone who’s read the novel will get the sly humor….

Midwest Book Reviews also featured THE YEAR OF LOVING on their Small Press Bookwatch page. I was really happy to see that–Midwest Book Reviews is a quality review outlet.

The review read:

Critique: A deftly crafted and compelling read from beginning to end, “The Year of Loving” clearly showcases author Traci Slatton’s genuine flair for storytelling. While very highly recommended, especially for community library Contemporary Romance & General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that “The Year of Loving” is also available in a Kindle format ($4.99).

I appreciated the inclusion of the business of book selling!

So two new reviews of THE YEAR OF LOVING, excellent ones!

Two New Reviews of The Year of Loving