Not long ago, I got the announcement that her memoir was being published. House of Fire has just been released by North Star Press.
I interviewed Elizabeth for the blog this week.
Q: What did you learn about structuring, and what methods did you try--and what ended up working best for you?
I tried everything. Absolutely everything. Some suggested that I had two books. One book was my abuse story. One book was the adoption story. So, I wrote two books. That never seemed right to me. I tried putting the two together - one chapter abuse--the next chapter adoption. I tried using my poetry to tell my story. In October 2012, I took a class with you. It was the first time that I heard about the W [storyboard].
A spark ignited. It helped me map out the book. I now had a road map. I started, again.
It made me see how we naturally carry that ability within us and actually how we live our life. Aren't we often going about our day and a song, a smell, or an event will trigger a memory?
Elizabeth's first storyboard for her memoir--the two colors represent the two storylines (her childhood abuse story and her present-time adoption story).
Q: Did you have to choose not to include anything or include stuff you didn't want to write about?
Also, the scenes with my daughter's diagnosis of articulation disorder was one that I had to work and rework. My group was very effective in telling me if something was working or not. If they had problems with a section I took that to mean that I hadn't done my work as a writer. If I felt strong about keeping something in the book, I kept working until it did work.
Mostly for me, it was taking all the Likes I had on Facebook as people surrounding me and putting a barrier between me and these brothers and sisters. As well as saying to myself, You can't hurt me. And, It is done. I didn't ask for permission and I won't ask for forgiveness.
That I fulfilled my destiny. The world knows. My story is out there.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy) helped me a lot. We know that when a person is very upset, their brain cannot process information as it does ordinarily. One moment becomes "frozen in time," and remembering a trauma may feel as bad as going through it the first time because the images, sounds, smells, and feelings haven't changed. Such memories have a lasting negative effect that interferes with the way a person sees the world and the way they relate to other people.
EMDR seems to have a direct effect on the way that the brain processes information. Normal information processing is resumed, so following a successful EMDR session, a person no longer relives the images, sounds, and feelings when the event is brought to mind. You still remember what happened, but it is less upsetting. Many types of therapy have similar goals. However, EMDR appears to be similar to what occurs naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Therefore, EMDR can be thought of as a physiologically based therapy that helps a person see disturbing material in a new and less distressing way.
Q: Tell us about your publishing process.
Q: One tip you'd give writers trying to get a book finished and published?
House of Fire by Elizabeth Di Grazia is available on amazon.com. Click here to read more.