My dear friend, Wendy McIsaac has been chosen as one of 15 emerging writers from around the world to take part in a prestiguous international residency for writers program!
If you know Wendy you know she has a book in her that's worth reading, but she needs your help to make that happen!
If you don't know her, but believe in the power of words to change a mind, a heart or a life then that is also a reason enough to help her do that.
Every person who helps to make this amazing opportunity a reality for Wendy will receive a signed copy of her book upon its publication and will be noted by name in the dedication of her book.
Wendy is a caring woman who can always be counted on to help others. Now, she needs help from her friends to achieve her dream. I believe in her wholeheartedly and I hope you'll join me in helping her!
Read more below about Wendy's journey so far:
Several years ago I died. I don’t say this for dramatic effect. I describe it this way because, even now, it is still the truest word I know to describe a time that ended me. The details of my death are unimportant. It is enough to say that within a six month span of time, all the aspects of my personal and professional life that mattered most to me and to which I had given my greatest attention, effort and love ceased to exist, unexpectedly and permanently. The parts of my life that reflected back all the shiny pieces of me I wanted to see were shattered. My carefully shaped identity cracked in large shards all at the same time, but each in a different way.
My death was quiet, but it wasn’t peaceful. Like any sudden death, it left behind a grieving house with whole rooms plastered in shock and empty except for heaps of heartache in every corner. When you die, it’s the little things that haunt you. For me, every chair and cup or closet held a memory. The empty spaces in them suddenly filled to the brim with conversations and quarrels that would only ever be had inside my head. It never occurs to you until it happens that the beds you made so carefully could so quickly be undone. No one builds a home to be a place where you go to unbecome.
My death went mostly unnoticed, but I wanted it that way because I was ashamed. Depression is not some bizarrely beautiful black and white Diane Arbus photograph. It’s debilitating, isolating, and frustrating, but mostly it’s exhausting. Trying to hide it is even more so. Depression is also disorienting. It’s like being dropped suddenly into some strange and abysmal desert. There’s no sign of life, just silence and pressing clouds to try and navigate your escape by. Then the avalanches happen and they bury you in darkness every time. You know you need to find a way to keep on breathing and burrow your way out, but what that way is isn’t clear. You dig. You try. You claw. You stop. You try again. Every time you get more tired. In the midst of it, depression doesn’t allow you any clarity. It offers only a persistent sense of its depth. At some point, it dawns on you that you want to disappear in it. That’s when you realize you’re not fighting to find a way out of darkness. You’re fighting the urge to stay.
I stayed in that place for a long time. I tried hard to remember who I was. I did my best to quiet taunting thoughts of all I was not. I looked for confirmation everywhere that the concept of resurrection was real and so I planted Lily of the Valley and studied the life cycle of certain moths. I did my best to understand, accept, and forgive. I tried hard to figure out how a dead person might live.
I was very fortunate, then, to have some friends and family kind enough to be with me in that terrible place and braver still to stay. I am grateful to them every day for their determination to help me find my way by drawing maps of all the places in me that I could no longer see. People who love you through darkness aren’t lanterns, they’re the moon.
Throughout my life, I’ve dabbled with words. A scrap of a story here, little bits of poetry there and for much of my life many people have said, “You should write a book”. Every time I have given the same ambivalent, “Maybe someday” reply. I’ve been in love with words all my life, but still I dismissed the idea from my mind every time. I’ve been a reader for as long as I can remember; my first conscious memory is holding a book. I’ve studied literature and I’ve taught it. For all these reasons, I think I have a good sense of great writing. It’s also for all those reasons that I thought I had nothing meaningful or moving to say. Then I died, and that thought began to change.
When I read some of my writing from that time, I can see that I wasn’t trying to write about life. I was trying to write myself back to life. Over time, along with a lot of other hard work, it worked. I wouldn’t wish my death on anyone, but it was necessary. My suffering showed me the depth of my strength. My isolation forced me to face my greatest fears. Acknowledging my insecurities exposed every part of me that felt unworthy and unwanted. Loneliness taught me about love. Writing helped me understand my thoughts and it also helped me interrupt them. It helped me remember that all of life is made of beginnings, middles, and ends each looped together through time again and again.
If you’re still reading, thank you. This is the place where the happy beginning happens. I spent much of last fall working on a writing portfolio as part of an application process to attend a residency for writers program in Italy. Recently, I was informed that I have been selected as one of fifteen aspiring authors, internationally, to attend the program this coming June. There, I will have the opportunity to create and learn from accomplished international authors as well as from my peers in the program. There are many practical matters that need to be managed between now and then for this to happen and I don’t have words yet to describe what this means to me or for me. I do know, though, that it will be transformative. These past few years have proven to me the power of words to sift and shift and change. Writing myself back to life has reminded me that every ending holds within it an echo, but also an embryo.
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