GIRL IN THE WOODS: AN EXCERPT - Honeysuckle
This was the hardest section of the book to write — Dash and my love story. I had to write it for the memoir in the aftermath of his disappearance, mourning him.
Salon has excerpted the darkest moment of my memoir — my second night at school; the rape. It's strange to see it isolated.
REAL GIRL STORIES: ASPEN MATIS - Seventeen
I couldn't wait to start my big, new, adult life at college — but was raped before classes even began. In this excerpt from Girl in the Woods, I drop out of school and set off on a 2,000-mile trek to confront my trauma.
A DARING DECISION - Marie Claire
I thought of the stories I would someday tell my children: dropping out of college, raped. I felt in a hotspot in my gut that I might be a dropout, ever after.
Did you know what you were getting yourself into when you decided to write your book. What surprised you? How did it change your view of the world?
I thought it would take about nine months, a page a day; really it took two and a half years of writing daily. I had to write 1,200 pages in order to find the 380 I needed.
I learned that the way to write a book is to write every single day. Writing spawns writing. Ideas trigger new ideas. One day off really is two days lost. My process is simply to show up every day, and to forgive myself for “bad” days when nothing much happens. My only job is to commit to showing up with all of my intelligence.
I write to figure out the things I truly wonder and need to know. I want to find the answers to my questions — why I do that thing I always do; if this is the way our memories can misguide us, or if that is — or if I can notice better when mine wants to lead me to follow an unrewarding path of fear/judgment/whatever unhealthy dangerous or fruitless thing, and I can find the junction, and save myself from following. What I didn’t expect was that writing a book would clarify not only my vision for the future, but also my perspective on my past. I thought those stories were over, but now I see them newly; I can’t see myself as a victim any longer. In a way, I grew up writing this book.
Writing my memoir, I learned again that you can do anything you set your mind to. Write your book. Walk from Mexico to Canada. Leave that job you hate, the abusive relationship that’s stifling you; blossom. You absolutely can. You are strong enough. And at the moment of commitment, the entire universe conspires to assist you.
Commit to work you love, living your first-choice life. You will alight with bright fire: pride in yourself. Anyone will become beautiful if they’re doing what they love.