Tuesday, November 8, 2016

WATCH MY RISING

post by Lynn
You have seen my descent. 
Now watch my rising. 
- Rumi 
Since January, I’ve been immersed in a project: editing an anthology.

It’s done. It’s published. I have copies in hand. The anthology is available on Amazon, even.


So, humor me while I do a happy dance and tell you about this project.

Watch My Rising: A Recovery Anthology 

This anthology is a collection of 37 stories and poems, all centered on the topic of recovery from addiction.

I decided to take on this project because of a confluence of factors:

  1. I love reading and writing and truly buy into the notion that stories educate better than lectures. 
  2. I volunteer for Recover Wyoming (RW), a nonprofit that my sister, Laura, started over five years ago. RW provides services to people seeking long-term recovery from addiction, and supports their family and friends. I am a Recovery Coach with RW, mentoring family members of people struggling with addiction. My personal experiences, involvement with this organization, and exposure to the societal stigma that people in recovery face has put me on a mission. I want to increase awareness about addiction, and celebrate the fact that around 24 million Americans are in recovery. That’s a lot of people. Still, I too often encounter the mindset of “once a drunk/addict, always a drunk/addict”—or something along those lines. 
  3. I became friends with Jennifer Top, who has a small publishing company called TulipTree Publishing. 
In a relaxed moment (probably while journaling and watching the sun rise), it occurred to me that I could mush these three elements together into one project. I could edit an collection of stories, work with Jennifer to publish them, and raise funds for RW while using the power of stories to educate people about the reality of recovery from addiction. Stories of recovery, because of stigma, haven’t been told nearly enough. I could do one small thing to change that.

A call for submissions in January garnered 93 poems and stories (both fiction and nonfiction). Submissions came from all over the U.S., England, Canada and Africa. Jennifer and I selected 37 stories and poems to include in the anthology. I worked with about 75% of the authors to edit the pieces.

Someday I’ll write a post or two about all I learned during my stint as an editor, (a HUGE learning curve for me) but today I just want to tell you about what you can find inside the cover of Watch My Rising, and share a bit about the writers…

Like poet Paul Hostovsky, 25 years sober, who has won a Pushcart Prize and had his work featured on The Writer’s Almanac. We are fortunate to have three of Paul’s poems in our anthology. His poem, “The Pigeons of Lynn,” takes us to Lynn, Massachusetts to spend time among the recovering heroin addicts on Green Street.

Like Chelsea Lai, a native of Casper, currently in Las Vegas, whose story “Get Your Ass to Al-Anon” chronicles her journey as a family member of someone who struggles with addiction and explains why she is grateful to have had this trauma in her life.

Like Lucas Zulu of Kwa-Guqa, Emalahleni, Mpumalanga province of South Africa, whose work has appeared in The Best “New” African Poets, 2015. His poem, “The Turn I Took” celebrates his turn toward sobriety.

Like Rebecca Taksel of Pittsburgh, whose poem “Connoisseur” reminds us that addiction can take you down no matter how high class your liquor is, and shows that the way out sometimes begins with a single, plaintive cry for help.

Like Pace Lawson, of Amarillo, Texas, whose story, “De-stigmatized” takes the reader on a shot-gun ride through years of drug use, incarceration and a detour-filled recovery. Today he helps people with Substance Use Disorders find the recovery path through Options Recovery, a nonprofit he founded.

Like Antonio Sanchez-Day, a 41-year-old Mexican/Native American male who honors his spiritual mentor in “Taking On Life.”

Like Billi Johnson-Casey, who has been in recovery from a prescription drug addiction for nine years. In “Thanking Anne Lamott,” Billi tells the story of a pilgrimage to thank the woman who helped her believe that she, too, could be “crazy as shit” and still be in recovery.

Wyoming folks are represented in the anthology as well. Aaron Holst, Margaret Smith-Braniff, Patricia McDaniels, Darrah Perez and yours truly are among the authors.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Powerful stuff, my friends. Courageous, too, since there's no "by anonymous" in this book.

If you’d like to get a copy of Watch My Rising, go to Amazon.com. Copies are also available via Recover Wyoming’s website, recoverwyoming.org.

Thanks for letting me celebrate with you!

4 comments:

  1. The anthology sounds wonderful, Lynn. Congratulations for taking on this seemingly daunting project and seeing it through. I will head to the Recovery Wyoming website and order a copy. Gutsy lady putting your own story of recovery in it too.

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  2. Thanks, Art. It has been quite a journey from inception to completion. Now we just want to get it into as many hands as possible.

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  3. I ordered a copy from Tattered Cover, a Denver indie bookstore, because I couldn't figure out how to order it from Recovery Wyoming. I saw your sister mentioned in one of the non-fiction pieces in Blood, Wind, Water, and Stone.

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    1. I LOVE Tattered Cover--try to make it there whenever I get to Denver. Recover Wyoming's website people are working on the PayPal button on RW's website, so hopefully that will be up and running soon. Thanks!

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