Thursday, February 10, 2011

Real Life Writing...Paula Henderson

In 2007, I attended the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, in North Carolina. One of the people I met was a Canadian writer, Paula Henderson. I was inspired by her passion for life and for her writing. Recently, I reconnected with her, finding an author who knows all about writing from the world around her. I asked Paula to share this limitless source of inspiration.

"As for the first book (COLLEGE SURVIVAL GUIDE: YOU ARE NOT ALONE)...well, I was working for switchboard at the hospital and on my shift alone I answered more than one suicide call and dealt with two "shooters on campus" situations. I realized after coming home, without any debriefing, that kids are told to get an A average in high school, go get a degree and then 'make a good life'. Very little debriefing occurs when shooters arrive at school, or your friend jumps off a building because they couldn't handle the pressure. do you make a life?? They give you quick solutions without realizing how each decisions hardens your heart. I wrote COLLEGE SURVIVAL GUIDE: YOU ARE NOT ALONE, to help students 'debrief' if you will. What does that mean? There are over 200 quotes by other students who have faced the same trauma, or the same fears. The rest of the chapters are to help students with the LIFE part. There are study tips in the book, but there is also a challenge to discover your passion, to help you make decisions when emotionally you feel like you are drowning. You need this book are guessing with your life, if you cannot sleep eight hours undisturbed, if you keep getting behind on your assignments, or if you look back at your last year and it was nothing to brag about on Facebook. What is your passion?

"Then I wrote LOST ANGELS: ENCOUNTERS WITH FIRST NATIONS because I looked around and realized that Canada had their own third world country living on the reserves. My first experience on the reserve started with a frantic call from the nursing station, and I was asked to come help watch children while the nurses were busy with multiple casualties. Only sixteen and wanting to help, I held my arms out to hold crying baby. I sat with her trying to console her, but she wouldn't settle. Trying to rearrange how I was clasping her, I noticed that her skin was stuck to my shirt. I asked her siblings when she was changed last and they said it had been a couple of days. Her hair was matted like she hadn't been bathed all week. As I aged, I wrestled with the statistics I discovered doing research in college, while trying to over look that they were living in the far north with less than 8, 000 dollars to live on per year. In minus 40 degrees below zero children loose their fingers, and unfortunately, one little girl was eaten by a wild dog. Yet North Americans pretend that Native Americans and Canadian Aboriginals are ghosts of the past. As I wrote personal stories about people I knew, I did not just want to show the pain that my friends have experienced. I want the reader to see the beauty they have, and the hope that is possible for everyone of our minorities. There are stories of their fierce love for the Canadian wilderness, and their strength as they face globalization. The Native people are not just a race, they are my friends."
As for her new book, SOUTHERN SILENCE, here is the back cover:
Peace is not the absence of turmoil, rather the deep calm while hurricanes rage on the surface. The author presents herself as an eccentric, hilarious researcher, getting to the bottom of mankind’s plight – to love, or to hate – and the beautiful or painful worlds that can result. One internet blog, revealing the consequences of a rape and murder, began her quest to discover if justice can be stronger than tradition. Dare to drive with Henderson through the Wastelands of industrial Chicago, down to the Delta of Mississippi to dispel any paranoia of corrupt politics, while questioning the new power of the cyber mob. Betrayal. Secrets. Racism. Power. Nobility. Hope. “Study history. Study history. In history lies all the secrets of statecraft.”- Churchill
Henderson masterfully weaves past, present, and future, leaving our cultures exposed, helping our wounds to heal.

Do you see a need around you? Could you write a book to fill that need? Do you see a problem? Could you write a book to help or to expose it? 

See other examples of writing from real life...The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke Have Little Faith by Mitch Albom 


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