I Will Tell the Night, Male Survivor, Weekends of Recovery

How Mumford & Sons Helped to Save Me – I Will Tell The Night Origin Story

I’m SUPER excited about my 2019 book release I WILL TELL THE NIGHT. Today, I wanted to talk about the title…and the evolution of how I came up with it.

The title is from a song. A song that was a huge part of a weekend at Hope Springs Institute in Peebles, Ohio, which I credit with saving me.

In 2011 I walked into a Male Survivor WEEKEND OF RECOVERY to seek healing and recovery from childhood sexual assault trauma. I had already taken a few steps in my journey, but had heard SO many great things about this program.

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When I walked into the large octagonal studio on the grounds of Hope Springs in rural Ohio, the song TIMSHEL by Mumford & Sons was playing loudly, proudly and vividly clear. The roof of the building went on forever and it had the feel of a cathedral. I was terrified to be meeting all these broken fellow survivors for the first time…walking into a space I was unfamiliar with…and the first crisp clear lines of lyrics hit me as I entered…

Cold is the water
It freezes your already cold mind
Already cold, cold mind
And death is at your doorstep
And it will steal your innocence
But it will not steal your substance
But you are not alone in this
And you are not alone in this
As brothers we will stand and we’ll hold your hand
Hold your hand

I tell you, I was mush. Instantly more shattered and whole than I had possibly ever been in my life. The last 4 lines in the above quote? Well, they may as well have been a two by four for their ability to knock me flat out cold…and they may as well have been a blanketed loving embrace for their ability to foster an instant knowledge that I had done the right thing in driving through the night to come to this strange off-the-beaten-path place in the middle of America that I had never heard of before then.

Those words pierced my heart and told me I was home, all at once. And the weekend progressed in every way possible to fulfill the promise of those last 4 quoted lines above. We strangers got through that weekend together, as brothers. We came through it a little (A LOT) more healed than we had been when we entered. It was one of the best things I ever did for myself in my life.

To this day, I can’t listen to TIMSHEL by Mumford & Sons without thinking of that painful but altogether life saving weekend…or the therapists who helped saved us in that studio, and in the Spirit House that also sits on the grounds of that idyllic piece of heaven in Ohio.

Mumford & Sons is intricately woven into my healing journey now, just as strongly as Peebles, Ohio is. As Male Survivor is. As Weekend of Recovery is. And as Hope Springs is. These things are all forever melted together in my brain and each time I hear Timshel, I hear my salvation. Because, after all that time…I was not alone in this.

The last lines of the song go like this…

But I will tell the night
And whisper, “Lose your sight”
But I can’t move the mountains for you
And I WILL TELL THE NIGHT always resonated deeply with me. The words are just as important as those 4 lines up above about not being alone. Because as a child, there was no one to tell. I was alone. There was only one person to tell. THE NIGHT. As soon as I heard that line, I knew why they picked that song for us to enter the studio to. Because we had all had that conversation with the night…we had all told our stories to the darkness.
I WILL TELL THE NIGHT, the title of my next novel. Now you know the title’s origin story. And how a song once helped to save me…
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(You can pick up Pride Must Be A Place at AmazonUSA or AmazonCanada now! It received an Amazing Review today!)

 

GTA, GTA Writers, On Writing, Toronto, WCDR, Whitby

I’m on a Panel! At the December WCDR Monthly Network Meeting

I’ve been talking about the WCDR ever since I began blogging. For those who missed it, the WCDR is the Writers’ Community of Durham Region. They are one of the most vibrant writing organizations in Canada, if not the world. I’m biased, I’m sure…but it’s a very active writing community just outside Toronto (East of the city). They’re about 300 members strong and they meet once a month in Whitby, Ontario for an interesting and informative hands-on writing event. Each meeting, there’s a guest author/speaker/agent/publishing professional/etc that leads the group into a morning of writing craft discussion. I’ve been a member since 2003. I am currently serving on the board of directors for the organization, as Membership Coordinator.

On Saturday December 8th we’ll be meeting for our annual special holiday gathering. This is the month where the WCDR puts together a panel of WCDR members who have some knowledge of their own to share with the rest of the writing community. As all families do, we also celebrate the holiday season at this last meeting of the year. I’m honoured to have been asked to sit on the panel this year. I’ll be there answering any writing related questions that might come up from the membership and guests in attendance, alongside RICH HELMS, JACKIE BROWN, and BARBARA HUNT.

It’s not too late to register for this meeting…and you don’t have to be a WCDR member to attend. Come check it out. It’s worth getting out of bed early on a Saturday morning and it’s ALSO worth sneaking across that chasm east of Scarborough into the land of Durham Region. I know…it’s hard to imagine there’s a world EAST OF THE CITY…but there is…and it’s extremely friendly to writers of all levels of achievement. If you’re on the writing path or even just considering jumping into the path, the WCDR is the place for you!

REGISTER FOR THE WCDR HOLIDAY PANEL NETWORK MEETING HERE!

Registration for this meeting is $15 for members online or $17 for non-members. You can even just show up at the door and pay $18. Typically the December meeting is the most populated one…so I suggest registering early!

Learn more about the WCDR HERE

 

Best Adult Novel Award, Museitup, Museitup Publishing, Muskoka Novel Marathon

I Will Tell The Night Has Found A Home! And By Home I DO Mean Publisher!

 

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It’s been a while since I have had this kind of news. My last book, the young adult title PRIDE MUST BE A PLACE, came out in February of 2018. Now, I’m excited to announce that I have accepted a contract with the same publisher to publish my 7th novel, the adult contemporary title I WILL TELL THE NIGHT.

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In September of 2016, I discovered that I had won the Muskoka Novel Marathon’s Best Adult Novel Award for the 5th time for I WILL TELL THE NIGHT  (<-read about that in this post right here). The true story behind the writing of this novel is that it almost did NOT get written.

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The plaque on the coveted BEST NOVEL AWARD trophy for 2016.

The novel marathon takes place over the course of 72hrs, every July, in Huntsville, Ontario. The literary event that is also a huge fund-raiser to help the YMCA of Muskoka and Simcoe County with the funding of their literacy programs is a must-attend event for me. I love the adrenaline rush it gives me to attempt to write an entire novel in the space of one long weekend. Especially when it involves being in a room with 39 other writers typing away at their own attempt to pull off the exact same feat. It’s a magical time every year.

Continue reading “I Will Tell The Night Has Found A Home! And By Home I DO Mean Publisher!”

A Way to Forgiveness, Camino, Camino de Santiago, Erin Dooley

A Way to Forgiveness – Healing on the Camino de Santiago

It seems I really cannot get enough Camino in my life. Recently, I read the exceptional travel memoir Walking to the End of the World – A Thousand Miles on the Camino de Santiago by Beth Jusino and it took me back to the beautiful pilgrimage experience I had in 2014. And today, I stumbled upon another documentary on the Way of St. James (Through the Facebook group POST CAMINO Support Group). It was an amazing movie!

A Way to Forgiveness – Healing on the Camino de Santiago is a documentary by Erin Dooley. This documentary is a compelling film tracing Dooley’s pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago as she pondered over and struggled with the concept of forgiveness, both in general and as it related to her own end-goal of forgiving someone in her own life.

From the beginning, I was hooked. I meditated over forgiveness myself as I walked the Camino. I saw many parallels in Dooley’s journey with that of my own…including how things would suddenly come up on the Camino to remind her of the person in her life she wished to forgive. The Camino somehow seems to mirror us, so it was no surprise she discovered things along the path that startled her into immediate recognition of home. The perfect example was how–in small town Spain–she heard the song she and her husband chose to use when entering the reception that followed her wedding. Coincidences and synchronicity are commonplace on the pilgrimage. You don’t realize how startling those coincidences are until they keep happening to you.

For any fan of the Camino–whether you have already walked it, wish to walk it, or are just being called to it now by stumbling upon this post–this deeply personal and contemplative look into the gift and burden of FORGIVENESS is a must see documentary. With the beautiful Spanish countryside as a backdrop, and the vulnerability and authenticity Dooley’s emotional journey…you won’t be disappointed.

As a pilgrim of The Way, I just wanted to also mention…one of the things I most feared as I traveled from my home in Toronto to Spain actually happened to Dooley on her pilgrimage. Imagine the terror of arriving in Spain to walk the Camino and realizing your backpack didn’t quite make the journey! She handled this hurdle with amazing calmness…and the still of her hugging her backpack once it finally decided to meet up with her is worth the price of admission!

Here’s the trailer for the movie:

 

 

 

You can watch A WAY TO FORGIVENESS in two ways. Rent it and stream it now, or buy a DVD copy.

Visit A WAY TO FORGIVENESS online and pick it up today!

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