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 writersâ€™ conference hosted by Novelists Inc back in the late 1990â€™s in Savannah, GA. In a small group, we talked about how writersâ€™ Â ideas, Â social structures, Â current Â events, Â philosophy, psychology, Â spirituality, and technology Â all coalesce, how things Â just swirl around each otherÂ and Â come Â 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 Â made my week!). The answer is, itâ€™s done but not yet formatted. Â In fact, enough are done right now to comprise a total of 8 books similar in size Â and word count to the first 2 books. Not every blog entry Â makes Â it to Â theÂ booksâ€”I Â leave Â out Â videos, jokes, most Home Depot rants, etc, Â leave Â in the essays and insights, and sometimes add in something from a private entry that most people donâ€™t see.
But hereâ€™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, Â working Â through Â my issues Â openly, shining a light on places I didnâ€™t want to go, forcing my- self to confront all my shadows and destroy them or accept Â them. Â It Â wasnâ€™t Â meant Â as Â a Â debate Â with Â my Â exâ€™s friends or family and it Â wasnâ€™t meant to be objective. It was meant as a healing tool. Thatâ€™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 yearâ€™s worth of journal en- tries into a book that was more for me than for anyone else and something I didnâ€™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 Â the Â first â€œblog-book,â€ Â Life in the Third Degree.
Which is where Step 3 delivers a shock. I canâ€™t put the first year of journal entries into one book. Writing mostly by tape recorder Â and Â transcribing Â it to my computer, Â I wrote the equivalent of 2 very large, juicy paperbacksâ€” the kind people read before printing costs went Â 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 Â books rather than edit out the â€œgood stuff.â€ She suggested that I had 3 natural divides in my first year of healing, and she was right. So Step 3 was discovering Â that Â I Â wasnâ€™t Â going Â to Â be Â publishing Â one book, Â but Â a Â series Â starting Â with Â Life in the Third Degree, Third Degree Burn, and Third Degree of Freedom.
Step 4 Â came Â in Â the Â past Â month, Â since Â the Â last Â full moon. Thatâ€™s the realization that other people get some- thing out of this, too. Itâ€™s people telling me that my journal has made a difference for them (thatâ€™s a tearjerker for me!) Â and Â how Â they Â see Â so Â much Â of Â their Â own Â lives through my choice of words and experiences. Thatâ€™s special.
And then today, Step 5 swirled together with the rest.
In a quiet talk about the tools and techniques Iâ€™ve used to look at my Â own Â issues and work through Â them, it was pointed out to me that I Â 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 Iâ€™m intrigued…because it feels right and it feels like thereâ€™s something useful there. The idea has more of a mission flavor to it.
And I Â really, Â really Â like Â the Â idea Â that Â my Â 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.