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 diary 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 myself 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 entries 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 anyone 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 something 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 issues. 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 someone else. As the old pain and grief swirls in this mix, they feel transmuted…transformed…into something positive.