Writing Ourselves Whole is a collection of essays and creative writing encouragements for sexual trauma survivors who want to risk writing a different story. Each short chapter offers encouragement, experience, and exercises. Sections focus on writing as a transformative practice, embodying our story, how to write trauma without retraumatization, writing joy and desire, and more.
How to change your life: When you can find language for the stories that are locked inside, you can change your life. Talk therapy can only go so far for the millions of Americans struggling in the aftermath of sexual abuse and sexual assault, as well as for their partners, families, and caregivers. Survivors of childhood sexual trauma are strong and vulnerable enough to bear witness to each other’s truths, to share and learn new languages for our experiences, to throw over the simplistic “victim” and “survivor” narratives that permeate mainstream media in favor of narratives that are fragmented, complicated, messy, and ultimately more whole.
Sexual assault survivors can heal themselves: Sexual trauma survivor communities (and their allies) have the capacity to hold and hear one another’s stories – we do not have to relegate ourselves solely to the individual isolation of the therapist’s office. We do not need to be afraid, as a community of fractured, harmed and healing survivors, of reaching out to and supporting one another.
Books such as Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones and Louise DeSalvo’s Writing as a Way of Healing beautifully describe the power of writing and offer practices for readers to engage with individually. Yet few creative writing or creative recovery books explicitly address sexual trauma survivor struggles to find language for their experience, nor do they describe the empowerment we might find in discovering language and expression for our delight, desire, and joy as well as our loss and pain. Writing Ourselves Whole specifically addresses the power of connecting with others who share our experience and can support us in finding language for subjects we not only are not supposed to talk about in polite company, but aren’t even supposed to articulate to ourselves.
Transformative journaling: Writing Ourselves Whole acknowledges the radical and profound impact of a creative healing community for trauma survivors, and includes suggestions for those seeking to create a peer writing group in their own communities. Writing Ourselves Whole rises out of the intersection of Natalie Goldberg’s groundbreaking Writing Down the Bones, the powerful Trauma and Recovery by Judith Herman, and the hopeful, angry struggle of Inga Muscio’s Cunt.
What You’ll Learn Inside Writing Ourselves Whole:
- How to reconnect with your creative instinct through freewriting
- How freewriting can help you reclaim the parts of yourself, and your history, that you were never supposed to be able to name
- How “restorying” the old myths about sexual trauma survivors can set you free
- How a consistent writing practice can help reconnect you with your creative genius
- How (and why) to make writing part of your regular self-care routine
- Why writing about your desires is at least as important as writing about violence
- The profound joy and power of writing in community and solidarity with other survivors
Jen is always delighted to connect with readers out in the world, and is available to offer talks/workshops for colleges, universities, social service organizations, community groups, and others.
What others are saying about Writing Ourselves Whole:
“Writing Ourselves Whole is a raw, powerful, necessary, wise and practiced guidebook to the revolutionary practice of finding the words, language and voice to transform suffering. It is chock full of insights, exercises,experience and the kind of fierce loveand teaching that transforms pain into power.
Jen Cross is a brave and brilliant transmitter of the deepest healing and healing practices. To anyone who has experienced abuse,violation and trauma, this book is a way out of the darkness.” –Eve Ensler, The Vagina Monologues
“Writing Ourselves Whole is rich, intelligent, passionate, intimate, honest and encouraging. Jen Cross draws from her personal experience, her many years of facilitating writing groups with survivors of sexual abuse, and the wisdom of a variety of teachers and writers, to provide guidance for writing-and for life-that’s both sensible and inspiring. This book is a treasure trove!”
–Ellen Bass, poet and co-author of The Courage to Heal
“This is the most essential book on writing practice I know … Every writing teacher, writing coach, writing workshop or group leader- and every person with a history of any kind of trauma needs this book.
–Pat Schneider, author of How the Light Gets In and founder of the Amherst Writers & Artists method
Published by Mango Media
Paperback: 304 pages
Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 8.9 inches
Available at your local independent bookstore, and anywhere else books are sold, including: