Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

‘Coming Together’ offers insight, healing through women’s artistic expression

(From the , 2005 edition of the Inland Register)

About 20 women gave a public reading of their work at Auntie’s Bookstore on Dec. 9.

They are contributing authors to the new book Coming Together, an anthology of poetry, prose and artwork by patrons of Transitions Programs for Women.

Volunteer Deidre Jacobson has been leading weekly writing workshops for the past five years at the Women’s Hearth, one of Transitions’ programs. She says the effort of writing for the participants is as much an exercise in therapy and processing their life experiences as a lesson in composing a graceful sentence. No topics are off-limits. As the women write, and then share their works, some sessions become “very intense,” as powerful memories are explored, often dealing with such experiences as mental illness, homeless-ness, addiction, and domestic and sexual violence.

Yet by writing and telling their stories, the women can move toward healing and empowerment, acknowledging and honoring their experience. Jacobson said that they also inspire others who may have had similar experiences.

Coming Together emphasizes themes of growth and self-discovery. The 120-page volume honors the writers and artists while educating the community about these women’s lives and how they have so often triumphed over difficult circumstances.

The work of some 30 artists and writers is represented in the volume. Among them, said Jacobson, is a woman who has struggled with schizophrenia for 30 years and only recently stabilized her illness with a new medication. This woman says she is “picking up where she left off 30 years ago.” Another woman uses her writing to cope with her bi-polar condition and her experience of institutionalization.

Coming Together is priced at $15. Copies may be purchased at Auntie’s Bookstore, 402 W. Main, and at Transitions, 920 W. Second Ave., both in Spokane. Publication of the book was made possible by grants from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the National Association for Poetry Therapy, and Assistants.

“Eyes,” by Michelle Schlienger
From the book Coming Together

Windows of my soul!
I read that in
a beautiful book.
I see eyes everywhere
in the faces of my
friends. Smiling, speaking,
living furiously in my
mind. I thank them
for all the help from
the women’s center
who helped three
talents surface for
me. Singing, writing,
and living. Eyes of
compassion and eyes of
healing. I am the
most fortunate person
alive to see the
eyes of love. Here and
now is a gift.

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