Tag Archives: Memoir


Writer's Stop

Writer’s Stop (Photo credit: Stephh922)

“Some people think they are in community, but they are only in proximity.  True community requires commitment and openness.  It is a willingness to extend yourself to encounter and know the other.”  David Spangler

Are you part of a community, personally or professionally?  What does it offer you that you value?

My blog post today is a bit different.  Recently, Brad Swift, a member of my writing community, tagged me for a blog tour, The Next Big Thing—my very first!  The way it works is that a writer answers questions about her/his next book (or one recently published), tags five other writers and passes it on.  The next week those writers do the same thing, so it’s a great way for writers to connect with a larger audience.

I love this idea because it’s about community.  As I’ve often written, one of the major world shifts we need to make is from competition to community.  That’s why I’m grateful to be living in a town where writers are a community and the writers I’ve tagged below are a part of that.  We’re here to support and help each other so that we are all successful.  It’s a great way to live, so check out these special people at the bottom of my answers.

What is the title of your latest book?  Awakening to the Dance:  A  Journey to Wholeness which I published in June 2012.  

Where did the idea come from for the book?  I never planned to write a memoir, but ten years ago when I was out of work and had reached a point with a novel that I couldn’t get past, a woman suggested to me that I’d lived an interesting life in an interesting time and should write about it.  Desperately needing a new project, I began reading my journals from the 1960’s to the present.  As I began writing, the process of exploring my past was spiritually transforming and became part of the story.

What genre does your book fall under?  It’s a memoir.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?  I’d love for Kiera Knightley to play me.  Kevin Costner would be perfect for Neal.  Judy Dench would be perfect for my mother.  Of course the book spans about 40 years, but I’ll let the director solve that problem.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?  Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness is the inspirational story of a woman’s search for her true identity apart from society’s expectations, her commitment to following her passions of dance and writing, her desire to find a soul mate, and the gift she receives by integrating spirituality into her life.

Was your book self-published or represented by an agency?  I published the ebook through  Kindle and Pubit and the paperback through Create Space.  It’s available on all three and on Amazon.com.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?  I took almost ten years to write the book.  I was teaching full-time, and I have no idea how long it took to complete the first draft.  I probably spent at least two years just picking and choosing the most important stories.  Then I had to pare those down and focus the story more on the main theme.  I did extensive rewriting for several years because the book was originally too long.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Every story is unique, but my guess is that any memoir written by a woman who grew up in the 1950s and 1960s would have similar themes.  It’s not about abuse or alcohol and drug addictions as many memoirs are. Of course, part of it could be called a “dance memoir” but even that part focuses on how dance increased my mind/body connection and contributed to my spiritual awareness that we are all One.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?  I realized that I had used many practices, such as meditation, affirmations, chakra balancing, and releasing my fear, that dramatically changed my life for the better.  When I was younger, I had no idea it was possible to live mostly free from fear, so I wanted to inspire others so that they could create the lives they desire and be free from fear.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?  During the 1960s and 1970s when I was a modern dancer, the entire art world was experimental, breaking all the old rules and supporting authentic expression.  It was a fascinating time.

In everyday life, men and women were struggling with the male and female stereotypes that no longer served us.

The book also has a strong love theme. I write about several major relationships with men all of whom were very powerful forces in my life.  In one way or another, each helped me grow and explore the nature of love.  But loving oneself and spiritual love are also themes that run throughout my story.

Please take a look at these fascinating writer friends:

Debra LloydTrey CarlandJohn Waterman ,Celia Miles

What does your community mean to you?  Please comment.

 ©2012 Georganne Spruce                                                                         ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5


“How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she were a perfectly normal human being.”  Oscar Wilde

What do you strive to be:  a “normal” human being or someone special?  Have you started developing your special talent or are you waiting for someone to tell you you’re capable?

We Need To Feel Special

We all want to be special to someone, don’t we?  While I may laugh at Oscar Wilde’s comment about women, I have to admit that in a relationship with a man, I want to be important and special to him.  I think most women feel this way.  We want to be “the One.”

In our families, we want to know that we are valued by our parents and siblings.  We all need to feel important to someone, but the truth is that no matter how many people think we are special, unless we think we are, we won’t experience that we are special.

Children Need To Be Encouraged To Develop Their Talents

Ultimately, we have to see and respect our own specialness and see that it’s a good thing.  As a child I was very creative.  I designed my own paper doll clothes and wrote stories.  At about thirteen, I wanted to be a dress designer, but my mother discouraged me because that would be too competitive.  At fourteen when I took an art class at school, my teacher characterized my latest drawing of a phoenix amid crumbling and fiery Greek columns as unusual (weird, in other words).  I got the message: art wasn’t my thing.

Fortunately, my mother encouraged me to become involved with drama which I enjoyed and which led me to become a modern dancer.  But no matter what I did creatively, in my family it was more important to be practical.  It was okay to have fun with these creative things, but not to take them too seriously despite the fact that my parents had artistic talent.  What mattered was making money, not following your passion.

Don’t Wait For Other People’s Approval

Eventually, I gave up trying to gain their approval and just followed my own path.  Even if others couldn’t see it, I knew how much work and courage it took for me to become a dancer.  I knew I was special even if others didn’t.  I knew in the overall scheme of things I wasn’t a great dancer, but it didn’t matter.  It made me happy.

You see, my ex-husband saw me as an ordinary person.  He thought my dancing was a childish pursuit I would eventually tire of.  My hard work and accomplishment meant nothing to him because again, practicality was all he valued.  It hurt to finally understand how “unspecial” I was to him.  But I learned a valuable lesson.

We Are Each On A Special Journey

We are each special and unique in our own ways.  Our most precious quality may be something no one else can see, but we know about it and must honor ourselves.  To expect the world to see how special we are may not be realistic.  All we can do is express who we are, and if we are true to that, we will eventually draw to us the people who do appreciate who we really are.

This week two people who are reading my spiritual memoir Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness told me that they couldn’t put it down.  One man read it in three days.  It’s nice to know that all the hard work I put into the book is paying off because the point to writing is to move and entertain people.   But it would never have happened if I hadn’t believed I was special enough to do it.  Do you know how special you are?

What gifts have you not developed because you are waiting for someone else to tell you that you are good enough?  Why not take the first step today?  Let me know how it goes.  Namaste.

©2012 Georganne Spruce                                                  ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Wayne Dyer Talks About Being Yourself (video), The Path to Unconditional Acceptance, Our Talents Are Our Gifts – Use Them Well


“Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”    Rumi

Who have been the major guides in your life?  What have you learned from them?

Throughout the last year and a half, as I edited and prepared Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness, I became more aware of the many transformations that took place in my life because of the influence of other people.  Some were pleasant experiences; some were not; some were lovely and disappointing. 

I’m not sure I believe the old saying, “Time heals all wounds,” but I do believe time gives us the ability to see those old experiences in a more enlightened way.  As we grow and learn, we hopefully come to a deeper understanding of our lives and the lessons we’ve learned from our life challenges.  At this point in my life, I have a whole basket of thank yous to hand out that I would never have viewed as good things at the time they happened.

Being Thankful For the Chaos

The summer after my divorce many years ago, I studied dance with Erick Hawkins. His gentle classes were just what I needed, and I learned more than one life lesson from him.  I wrote about the first awareness, concerning an injury, in the post “Body and Soul As One.”  The second awareness occurred as a result of a comment.

Hawkins in El Penitente, 1930s

Hawkins in El Penitente, 1930s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Hawkins.  

“That summer, Erick Hawkins was my spiritual teacher. One day, he said that in Zen one said, ‘Thank you’ when things were at their worst. The idea was profound—that we should be thankful for all experiences because we could learn from them and become more aware. Although I learned to have more respect for myself after the injury, I wasn’t yet able to see what positive things I had learned from my divorce. So I thanked Erick Hawkins for opening my heart and showing me how to have compassion and respect for myself as well as for others. I could even say, ‘Thank you for the chaos of my life,’ having faith that someday I would know what good sprang from it.”

Forgiving Ourselves and Others

Now, many years later, I can see how badly matched my ex-husband and I were, and how we were so unprepared, at that stage in our lives, to give each other what we needed in a relationship.  I no longer blame him or me for the hurtful choices we made, but I did learn how a good relationship requires the kind of communication we didn’t have.

Feeling Gratitude For What Is Good

It was many years before I really embraced Hawkins advice, but now part of my daily gratitude practice is being thankful for the difficulties that arise in my life.  I say, “Thank you for this difficulty and the valuable lesson I will learn from this.”  I have learned that nothing is meaningless and trust that the opportunity to learn lessons is everywhere.

The next relationship I was in, I chose a man who was an artist and whose spiritual life was entwined with art like mine.  I wrote about this relationship in the book as well.

“In the quiet of an early Sunday morning, I reread the letter from Neal that had arrived the day before. Embracing me with his words, he said I was very dear to him and that he found pleasure in my mind, smile, laughter, and movement. How lucky I was to have found a fairly liberated man, but a part of me was afraid to surrender and love him completely because losing him would then be unbearable. The spiritual bond that our art created between us was deep, for sometimes he thought he was me—that was the only way he knew to describe it, as if we had developed from the same root. We hurt in similar ways, we grieved in similar ways, and we celebrated in similar ways. When we danced or made love, a sheer, pure pleasure flowed through us. We could appreciate silence, share it, and not feel ill at ease. Even with hundreds of miles between us, I felt his touch.”

The relationship lasted for eight years.  At times we were just friends; at other times, we were lovers considering marriage.  There was joy, laughter, and tears, but despite our powerful connection, we parted.  Although we loved each other, he didn’t really want what I would call a relationship, and I could not live the way he wanted us to live. Despite that, the list of positive things I learned from that relationship is endless, not the least of which was that I could be loved for who I truly was.

Letting Go And Finding A Better Life

These are only two examples of the many guides who have passed through my life and taught me who I am and how to live with more joy and meaning.  When I began to write my memoir I was searching to understand why I was experiencing so many negative things.  Now I can look back and say, “It was time for me to move on and I wasn’t moving,” so the Universe made it impossible for me to stay where I was, and I am so grateful.  Without that push I might not have come to North Carolina, I might not be writing, I might not have the life I love.

What is one of the important lessons you’ve learned from a guide in your life?

I hope you will want to read more of my story and how I used my spirituality to grow and change. Awakening to the Dance: a Journey of Wholeness is now available as a paperback at Create Space and as an ebook on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  The paperback is also available on Amazon in this country and some European countries.

I will continue to the Wildness Series as I have time to interview some wonderfully wild people I know.

©2012 Georganne Spruce                              ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5


Design by Leslie Shaw Design

Is there some project you keep planning to do that will ignite your passion?  Are you willing to share what you’ve learned in life with others?  What has inspired you lately or who have you inspired?  How are you part of the One?

As many of you know from reading this blog, I’ve been working on a spiritual memoir for ten years.  Finally, I have completed it and it is available as an eBook on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  A paperback will be available in a few weeks.

What a journey this has been! I spent years going through the journals I’d kept since the 1960s.  I cried, laughed, relived events, pondered how I had changed through the years, and healed in many ways.  In addition to the personal healing that occurred, I started learning to write.  I took classes, joined writer’s critique groups, and asked endless questions of every writer I met.

The Real Story

What is the content of the book?  Basically, it’s about what it was like to be a woman trying to find an authentic identity in a time when women were narrowly defined by society’s stereotypes.  It’s about the years when I was a dancer and taught dance.  It’s about relationships and how the men I knew also struggled with society’s male stereotypes.  It’s about trying to balance creativity and practicality.  It’s about the challenges of working in school systems that were inadequate and the contrast between them and private schools.  It’s about the spiritual journey at the core of all of this and all the spiritual practices that helped me become the person I wanted to be.

Why Me?

I never thought I would write a memoir.  After all, I’m not a celebrity.  I haven’t been addicted to drugs or alcohol or been a victim of abuse—the subject of so many memoirs.  But at a very critical moment in my life, a woman suggested to me that there was value in sharing my journey—that other’s might benefit from it.  At that moment, I needed to believe something positive would come from my suffering.

I’ve also experienced great joy in life, and I wanted to share that too.  For me, there is nothing quite as transcendent as dance or love.  I experienced healing and growth through my career and personal life.  I accomplished my greatest dream.  I found my way to a wonderful life in the mountains of western North Carolina.  If sharing my journey with you will guide, entertain or enlighten you, then I know the years of work were worth it.  I guess I won’t ever really give up being a teacher.  Now, rather than being in a classroom, I teach through sharing my thoughts.

We Are All One

We’re all One, but each journey is unique.  I’ve learned so much from every person who has ever been in my life, and I’m eternally grateful for the lessons I’ve learned.  It is my greatest hope that this book will be inspiring or helpful to my readers in some way.  May you be blessed.

For more information on the book, click here or visit Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Next week, I will return to the theme of “Awakening to the World,” including some experiences from my trip to West Africa.

© 2012 Georganne Spruce