“Ms. Lace has written a novel that is both gritty and tender. Her ability to create very real characters with very real emotions makes this novel a satisfying read. What makes the short fiction of Noreen Lace stand out is, not only Lace’s facility with language, but her ability to connect with her reader. She lays the soul of her characters at the feet of her readers and it’s impossible not to respond. In her fiction, Ms Lace creates a world of darkness and warmth. Her characters, although flawed, find a way to triumph over the hand fate has dealt them, moving forward and rising up through enormous odds. The journey: there-in lies the tale.”
Jo Rousseau can be brutally honest – she told me numerous times during my writing process when the story wasn’t adding up, needed changes, or didn’t follow to a natural end. So – when she gives me a compliment, I know it’s as authentic as she is.
Once you order you read – please, please write a review. Thank you!
Thank you to my fellow author and friend, Ron Terranova, for his review of my upcoming release, Our Genlte Sins, June 21!
“Lace has woven a wonderful tale with themes and characters that are universal and recognizable. Such issues as a woman’s personal sovereignty within a relationship, the oppressiveness, both subtle and overt, of patriarchy and the mixed blessings of liberation are explored. A wonderful, readable story, ideal for Summer reading. Kudos to Noreen Lace.”
When I first came to yoga, our instructor made fish pose a regular part of our sequence. And for so long, I disliked it. It was uncomfortable – and I thought possibly unsafe.
Fish pose, for those of you who are unfamiliar, is a pose in which the person lays flat on their back, but then lifts their upper back and head to place the crown of their head on the floor.
This pose, or rather the dislike of this pose, inspired a story titled Matsyasana. It is the very things which make us uncomfortable, which may (or may not) be connected to other, deeper things, that we must explore.
When I started looking at Fish Pose from a different point of view – thanks to the story – I understood what the pose could be. For me, it became about looking at life from a different point of view. Sometimes we get stuck in our discomfort. If we don’t or can’t move past it, we will never find what is on the other side. And nothing is as bad as being stuck – anywhere or in any way.
The first writing prompt for the group Writing to Wellness is to approach this topic in some way. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a yoga pose, but consider a position which makes you uncomfortable and write about it. If you’re perplexed, begin by attempting to describe the pose or position, then delve into the part of it that makes you uncomfortable – either in a fictional or non-fictional way. The point is just to start thinking about it and writing about it. This group is a safe place. We will support one another in our individual journeys. Feel free to share or ask for feedback.
This year is a year of self care. The people I’ve met and those I’ve chatted with are seeking self fulfillment, searching for growth; it is a year of healing.
Taking care of yourself is not selfish. We are a well. Empty wells can not serve or help others. We need to refill our wells, take care of ourselves in order to be any good to our children, our spouses, family, or community.
We can heal through writing. We can find ourselves and our purpose through exercises meant to expose our deepest desires and inspire our motivation.
Many years ago, I met a woman who was in so much physical pain, she could barely walk and used a cane to get around. Through our semester together, writing exercises, guest speakers, and the process of opening up, she found what was eating away at her. Once exposed, her physical pain began to resolve. She walked with much more ease and moved with more freedom than she’d felt in years.
We can heal through writing. We can resolve our deeper issues. We can discover our purpose. I’d like to invite you to a group Writing to Wellness . The group is on facebook for the moment as that seems the platform where we can not only post and respond to writing prompts, challenges, and answer each others’ questions, but we can also do live writing groups, which I’d like to do at some point. We can also welcome speakers and post videos there.
Please feel free to join. I invite you to respond to prompts, receive writing feedback, and take part in a community dedicated to healing and wellness. Negative comments, trolling, and other uncivil behavior will not be tolerated.
We all have those moments when we feel a lack of motivation, we’re dry on inspiration, and inevitably dragged down by the same. The continuing covid plague hasn’t helped the situation. These are three things I (and other writers) have tried with some success to release the damn and restart the flow. (This is not just for writers!)
Discuss creativity and inspiration with a colleague or two. Recently, in a discussion with another writer, I was pleasantly surprised by their take on creativity. I found it refreshing and it actually inspired me to consider my own thoughts. I soon fell into a lovely flow.
Take a day trip. There are two types of trips I like to take – one is to a place that is familiar which gives me the warm fuzzies and shakes ideas loose. But when I’m really stuck – someplace new and unfamiliar. The beach or the mountains are always a good idea, but visiting a town a hop, skip, and jump from you, a new museum, or a place that would never fall on your top ten list. I was in North Carolina recently and stopped by the Museum of the Bizarre. I enjoyed talking to the employee who was knowledgeable about the history of the place and I lucked into a sword swallowing show.
Search for your old notes and writing. Whenever I’m looking for something, I run across old writings – my notes and stories and ideas are scrawled everywhere. I collect them and save them for times when I’m feeling dry. While I may not relate to an idea my twenty five year old self was thinking, there may be a kernel in those scribbles for a new idea. Even if I don’t pick up that idea, just rereading these releases bubbles for new ideas.
Let me know what you do to shake off the stickies.
Do you know people who don’t change, they stay the same, saying the same things, thinking the same narrow thoughts? Dealing with these people is challenging. It is a great fear of mine to get stuck – to narrow as I age instead of continuing to grow.
This is my theory to never get stuck or to get out of being stuck is to embrace these four suggestions:
Read everyday. I’m not going to say it doesn’t matter what you read; in some ways, it does matter. Read far and wide, don’t discriminate. Magazines. Sci fi. Young adult. Horror. Literary. Self help. Reading builds intelligence and empathy.
Write everyday. Even if you’re not a writer. Journaling, writing down thoughts, dreams, ideas, or even what happened in your day is a way to reflect on yourself and your life. Self reflection helps us grow. Especially if you are a writer – write something!
Forgive. Forgiveness if not for the person who wronged you. It’s for you. Forgiveness sweeps the dust from our souls. To forgive does not always mean to forget, and it certainly does not mean to allow the person to wrong you again. Forgive and move on.
Gratitude. Be thankful for where you are in life or for the power to change where you are. Be grateful for your health, the roof over your head, the motivation to grow, the inspiration to follow your dreams, the desire to work toward your goals, for the bird song, the blue sky, the rain, or that you’re one step further away from what you don’t want and one step closer to what you do.
I’ve known too many people who have lost out on a real life, a happy life because being stuck is more comfortable than change.
These suggestions are only a beginning, but they are a good start or to continue on a journey to become a more open, intelligent, and sensitive person.
I can not tell you how much I love Jo Rousseau’s writing. Her book, Tourists in the County of Love, is prize worthy. Her writing is sensitive, thoughtful, reaches into the depths of the individual soul, searching for the reasons for immoral acts.
Her previous awards include a first place essay, “Becoming Rousseau.” “Dead Dog Blues,” won the Writer’s Digest Short Story Competition. “Why Can’t We All Play Guitar like B.B. King” won the Seattle Magazine Short Story Contest.
Her book, Tourists in the Country of Love, features stories of men and women who make decisions that are sometimes beyond their own understanding. The first story is “Reading to my Mother.” A tender story of a mother who is no longer able to care for herself and the question arises – who will care for her? It’s never an easy answer, but added complications make it even more difficult in this story.
This interview with Jo Rousseau focuses on her story, “Maurissa takes the F-Scale.” (The F-Scale was a test after World War 2 designed to measure fascist tendencies.) There are questions and answers about the novel as well as her writing style. I hope you enjoy watching as much as I enjoyed speaking to her.