Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Truth.
Sometimes things just coalesce.
I love that word. It first intrigued me at a writers’ conference hosted by Novelists Inc back in the late 1990’s in Savannah, GA. In a small group, we talked about how writers’ ideas, social structures, current events, philosophy, psychology, spirituality, and technology all coalesce, how things just swirl around each other and come together. I love that image.
So I could see where things were beginning to coalesce over the past week when I received several emails asking about the next blog-book in the Third Degree di- ary series (Gods, you guys just made my week!). The answer is, it’s done but not yet formatted. In fact, enough are done right now to comprise a total of 8 books similar in size and word count to the first 2 books. Not every blog entry makes it to the books—I leave out videos, jokes, most Home Depot rants, etc, leave in the essays and insights, and sometimes add in something from a private entry that most people don’t see.
But here’s how things coalesce in a way that takes my breath away.
I began my blog as a healing journal. It was a chance for catharsis (another favorite word!) by writing out what bothered me most, working through my issues openly, shining a light on places I didn’t want to go, forcing my- self to confront all my shadows and destroy them or accept them. It wasn’t meant as a debate with my ex’s friends or family and it wasn’t meant to be objective. It was meant as a healing tool. That’s Step 1.
Step 2 was in realizing, after almost a year, how much healing I had done. It was all there in my words. Purged. Turned this way and that. Explored from different angles. And so the decision to put a year’s worth of journal en- tries into a book that was more for me than for anyone else and something I didn’t really expect to sell anywhere. It would just be a way to capture my experiences, if any- one was interested, and to honor the healing process. So I set out to format the first “blog-book,” Life in the Third Degree.
Which is where Step 3 delivers a shock. I can’t put the first year of journal entries into one book. Writing mostly by tape recorder and transcribing it to my computer, I wrote the equivalent of 2 very large, juicy paperbacks— the kind people read before printing costs went exorbitant. I tried to toss out about half the entries, but a friend pointed out that the healing is in the little details and that I should divide it into 3 books rather than edit out the “good stuff.” She suggested that I had 3 natural divides in my first year of healing, and she was right. So Step 3 was discovering that I wasn’t going to be publishing one book, but a series starting with Life in the Third Degree, Third Degree Burn, and Third Degree of Freedom.
Step 4 came in the past month, since the last full moon. That’s the realization that other people get some- thing out of this, too. It’s people telling me that my journal has made a difference for them (that’s a tearjerker for me!) and how they see so much of their own lives through my choice of words and experiences. That’s special.
And then today, Step 5 swirled together with the rest.
In a quiet talk about the tools and techniques I’ve used to look at my own issues and work through them, it was pointed out to me that I should combine forces with a couple of counselor and coach friends to create a supplementary workbook for the Third Degree series, a type of workbook that helps the readers delve into their own is- sues. I would never have considered it a year ago. Now I’m intrigued…because it feels right and it feels like there’s something useful there. The idea has more of a mission flavor to it.
And I really, really like the idea that my working through all my own darknesses might be helpful to some- one else. As the old pain and grief swirls in this mix, they feel transmuted…transformed…into something positive.