I gave the first public reading from Still Life with Horses on Sunday evening, at Augsburg College, home of Howling Bird Press. The reading went well, and the Q&A that followed also went well. And then there was a reception with cake and wine and cheese, which was lovely.
But. What struck me most was the number of women who came up to me at the reception, and in the days that followed, women who pulled me aside to tell me about their own experiences with difficult marriages, relationships that were tainted with invisible emotional abuse. The kind of repeated trauma that leaves no visible scars or bruises, but scars and bruises you all the same.
Readings from the book touched a nerve in each of these women, and I found myself saying again and again, “You are not alone.” You are not the only one going through this. There is a sisterhood out there, made up of those of us who have endured too long the misery of a marriage or partnership filled with anger, hostility, gaslighting, lies, and more.
I can’t begin to tell you what to do, or how you can’t or maybe can fix things. I can tell you this: you are not alone. You are not the only one. Even just knowing that simple one thing is, I hope, a beginning. The opening of a door. One you might be able to walk toward, and through. I did. It was far from easy, but it made all the difference. Still Life with Horses is about that walk. It’s for you.