Dreaming in the Pages

Books ... where dreams are better than reality

Broken Pieces

Jack Canon's American Destiny

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Lifeline from INSIDE/OUTSIDE by Jenny Hayworth #Memoir #AmReading #NonFiction

In 2004 I had commenced studying for my bachelor of nursing degree at university. I completed nine units over a twelve-month period and then decided it was not for me. When considering other careers, I decided to transfer to social work as I was allowed to do eight subjects of another discipline as part of the degree, so I wouldn’t have wasted a year of study. However, the university had closed the midyear intake, and I did not wish to wait until March the following year to commence studying. I looked at psychology and transferred my nine subjects over to that degree and commenced straightaway. I was living in a small town and working part time at the local hospital as well as studying.
I read an advertisement in the local paper asking for volunteers. I had not forgotten in the past years how many times the Lifeline counsellors had been there for me in my darkest hours, and I was determined to give back for all I had taken. It was an inner force driving me. I had always known, from the first time I had been encouraged by the mental-health support nurse to enrol and do the course, that I would return one day and work on the phones. Now, looking at the advertisement in the paper, I decided it was time.
I applied to do the telephone-counselling course and was accepted. During the following three months, I completed 120 hours of role play education and learnt the art of reflective listening. My journey of personal growth at that time was extraordinary. Once again I felt in awe of this agency, set up to help normal, everyday people help other everyday people in distress. I loved the fact that it didn’t matter what faith or belief you had; as long as you agreed with the foundation principles, you could be trained to be a telephone counsellor.
I completed the course and loved every minute of it. I found much of it challenging, as we had to learn to listen actively and reflectively and support people who were suicidal, self-harming, or in dire need of a listening ear for all different reasons. People who had been victims of domestic violence or sexual assault, or who suffered from mental illnesses, came and spoke to us, which personally challenged any preconceptions and biases we might have held. I learnt so much from the role playing and having a group reflect back to me about how I performed. The feedback from others, on such things as tone of voice and my effectiveness in how I used each of the skills we needed to learn, was invaluable.
I learnt how I had to put aside my own experiences, background, and preconceptions even if I had experienced some of the issues that clients raised on the phone. I had to truly listen and be there with people, by their sides, as they poured out their personal pain. I learnt so much about myself and more importantly, about how to truly be with someone else who was going through personal crises or was in emotional pain.
I passed the course and was approved to move on to practical experience on the telephones. There were plenty of support people on hand to sit with me for as long as I required. I found that knowing what had helped me the most when I had been the one calling helped me now to a certain degree, but the most important thing was to be fully available emotionally to the person on the other end. The Egan method of counselling, which is the basis of Lifeline training, is a person-centred therapy. The tools they taught us in regard to how to listen and guide another actively through the maze of often-conflicting options and emotions were invaluable.
I encountered every situation you could think of in these few months. Most who were suicidal had attempted suicide before and been in hospital, or they felt suicidal and were in extreme emotional pain that they didn’t feel they could share with their families or friends. Some had actual suicidal plans, and yet something had made them ring instead of carrying through with them at that particular time.
Many were just plain lonely to the bone and had no one to listen to them or to talk with. I was surprised that just a hearing ear was what most people wished for. Nearly all who phoned had no trouble talking, and they let me know when they had talked enough, felt better and more able to cope, and could carry on.
Many people said they had told secrets they had kept for years—things they had done they were ashamed of and didn’t feel they could live with if anyone found out, conflicted emotions about partners and children and parents. They spoke about things they were scared to voice out loud to those around them but needed to be heard and to say. They needed to have a chance, in a safe place with a safe person they couldn’t see, to say the words and work out their own path in the telling.
Everyone had a story.
One particular night I went on my shift as usual. From the time the phone rang and I picked up the call, I knew I had a young woman on the line that was serious about taking her life.
“Hello, Lifeline. How can I help you?” I answered.
At first there was only silence. I sat quietly listening as I had been taught, and I could hear music in the background, and the soft sounds of someone breathing.
“It’s okay, take your time. I am right here when you want to start talking.”
I heard the sound of a deep intake of breath. Gulping, ragged sobs filled the earpiece of my phone, and the sound of someone trying to suck back in all the pain echoed in my ear. I could identify it was a female crying although no words had been spoken by her yet.
I allowed about fifteen more seconds to go by whilst I listened to her crying.
“You don’t have to start at the beginning. Sometimes it’s too hard to know where to start. It’s okay not to know,” I said. Sounds of more crying filled my ear, louder now and less controlled. It was the sort of crying that occurs when someone is absolutely bereft, exhausted, and in despair. The wailing was coming from the depths of someone’s soul, the sound of someone who had lost everything and had nothing remaining.
I allowed a few more seconds to go by until I heard a lull in the crying as the person struggled to get their breath. “I am right here with you. You are not alone,” I said. The wailing was less intense, and I could tell she was listening to me. “I can hear you are in enormous emotional pain. It is okay to cry. You’re not alone anymore.” I stayed quiet for a few seconds. “What is your name?”
“Karen.” Sobs started slowly building up intensity again.
“Karen, can you tell me what is happening for you right now? What made you pick up the phone and ring me tonight?”
“I just want to die. I just want to die.” The female voice wailed loud and high, frantic and nearly shouting. “I can’t do it anymore. It’s just too hard. I just want to die. I can’t take anymore. It’s too much. It’s all too much.”
I identified exhaustion, slurring, lack of hope, and the clink of what sounded like a glass. I pushed the “alert” button and, at the same time, dialled the number for my supervisor on the mobile phone I had next to me. I left the phone on the bench and kept talking.
“Where are you right now? Are you at home?” I asked.
“Where is home, Karen?”
“It doesn’t matter. I want to die. I just want to die.” Her voice rose again to a crescendo.
“Karen, have you been drinking?”
“Vodka. It is my favourite drink. I’ve nearly finished the bottle.” Her voice was slurring, and my concern elevated another notch as her ability to self-moderate and respond to reasoning would be compromised. Suddenly her voice slipped into the hushed sing-song tones of a little girl. It was so soft, and her words so slurred, I was finding it hard to pick up the meaning of what she was saying.
“I’m touching me. I’m touching me. Oh, there’s blood all over everywhere. I can taste it.”
Soft moaning filled the air. The strains of music in the background muffled her voice. “Daddy, Daddy. Oh, I am so turned on. Why are you doing this to me? Why?” Her moans changed to a high-pitched sob, and her gulp for breath filled my ear.
“Karen, are you cutting yourself?”
“Yes. There is blood everywhere. I am going to die. I want to die.”
“Karen, can you please put the knife or razor down whilst you are talking to me? Karen, have you put down what you are cutting yourself with? I need you to put it down whilst you talk to me.”
“Karen, I hear that you want to die. I believe you. But part of you picked up the phone and rang me tonight. Part of you must want to live, as you rang me tonight. I need to talk to that part of you that wants to live.”
“No, I want to die.” Her voice suddenly changed back to that of an adult. “All of me wants to die. I can’t take it anymore. My daughters will be better off with me dead. I’m no good to them. They should stay with their father all the time. They would be better off. I am useless to them.”
“I hear you say you believe your daughters will be better off with you dead. I hear you say you want to die.” I allowed a few seconds’ silence. Her breathing was noisy and raspy. “Why did you ring me tonight, Karen? Why did you ring me on the night you want to die?”
Her voice, interlaced with sobs, shouted down the phone at me. “Because I’m scared. I don’t want to be alone when I die. I want someone with me.” I waited a few seconds until her loud, frantic sobs started to die down.
“I hear you’re scared, Karen. Karen, if I could wave a magic wand and take all your emotional pain away, would you still want to die? If all the emotional pain was gone, would you still want to die?”
“No, but you can’t. No one can. I’ve tried. I’ve tried everything, and nothing works. This is going to work. It is all going to end tonight.”
“Tell me about your emotional pain, Karen. Tell me why it feels so bad.”
Everything else in the room and in my life ceased to exist except for her voice, her words, her story, and the phone against my ear. I tried to stay with her as she went to some dark places and took me with her.
She was currently separated and had two young daughters. They lived with her full time, but this weekend they were staying with their father. She said he was a good father, and her daughters enjoyed going. She sometimes spoke in a normal-sounding voice and then would switch to a voice that sounded like a little girl’s as she regressed in time and was living a reality back from when she was a child. She was drinking vodka as we spoke and sometimes masturbating. She kept on picking up the razor and cutting herself. She was in her bedroom with loud music playing whilst she was cutting the top of her leg deep down to her femoral artery.
She wanted to die.
She had made up her mind that it would happen this weekend, and her ex-husband would find her on the Monday morning after he had dropped their daughters at school and come around to drop off their gear. She was a victim of long and sustained childhood sexual abuse by her father. She kept drifting in and out of consciousness toward the end of the call. She was in an altered reality because of emotional pain, intoxication, and sedatives and was cutting and masturbating to try to alleviate some of her tension while stating she wanted to die. Her memories of childhood and adult emotional pain intermingled.
My supervisor had come in and had called the police in the caller’s area twice already. Unfortunately, as police had taken her suicidal to hospital some months previously, they were in no hurry to get to her. They were prioritising other calls, not realising the seriousness of the situation. This was not an unusual situation for us on the phones. Many police were escorts for the mentally ill and suicidal, taking them to hospital, and most had regulars in their areas that they got to know well. This sometimes made them act with less urgency.
However, my supervisor kept ringing and conveying to them that I was an experienced counsellor, and she trusted my instinct that this girl was actively attempting to suicide and would bleed to death if no one reached her soon. All my gut instinct was screaming out to me that this was so. I channelled all my energy and every fibre of my being down that phone to her; I was a hundred percent focused on trying to say the right words to convey to her to live and not to die, and that I was there for her.
I appealed to her as a fellow human being, through her daughters, through the young self she kept slipping into, that there was hope, there was a reason to live, there was a way out of this pain, there was a way to have the emotional pain stop and end without her having to die. She wanted the emotional pain to end, but that didn’t mean her life had to end. Her daughters would not be better off with her dead. When she didn’t have the emotional pain to deal with, she could be there for them. She could be the mother she wanted to be. She could build a new life once the pain was gone. She could trust people again.
I asked her what had happened this particular weekend that was the final straw that had made her decide to kill herself. She had received a bill in the mail that she said she could not pay. It was added to the other bills, and it was the breaking point for her.
It was all too much. She had no one to share her pain with or to support her through her marriage breakup, being a mother, or her own abuse memories that were flooding her now that she was on her own. She did not feel she could cope as an adult in this world any longer. She did not feel she could be an adequate parent and role model for her daughters when she could barely get out of bed each day. She didn’t want them to see her like this. She didn’t want to frighten them. She was starting to behave in ways she did not like. She felt they would be better off without her.
I tried to ask her what had helped her get through these times in the past, when she had previously been this distressed and suicidal. But it was nearly impossible to reason as an adult with her when her rationality was not in charge, and her younger, seemingly emotional self was in charge.
I therefore said that Karen the adult needed to look after Karen the child. Her child self didn’t need to be cut and hurt. Her child self didn’t need sexual stimulation when she was drunk and scared. Her child self needed the adult Karen who had rung Lifeline to put down the razor, put down the alcohol, and just let her sleep, let her lie down and rest, as she had been through enough.
She stopped talking, and I no longer knew if she was conscious. I just kept talking and talking, hoping she could hear me and hoping something I was saying in a calm, soothing, nonjudgmental voice was getting through to her.
The police arrived at the house; I could hear through the phone that they were breaking down the door. One of the police picked up the phone and started talking to me. He said she had cut down to the artery, and it looked like she had nicked it. There was blood everywhere. She was unconscious, but the paramedics had arrived, and they were taking her to the hospital.
I was so relieved.
He hung up the phone, and suddenly there was just silence where there had been intense energy and focus. All the energy just drained out of me, and I felt myself start to shake. She was alive. She was going to make it—for that night anyway. I prayed and hoped someone at the hospital would relate to her and help her. That she would find a doctor or therapist who could help her find a way out of the maze and trap she had found herself in with no hope.
On the way home, in the dark and quiet, I suddenly had to pull my car over. I thanked the whole universe for letting me be the one to sit with Karen during her pain, for the police and paramedics who had gone to her assistance, and for the doctors and nurses who would be attending to her. I had intensely related to her. I understood her switching between her child self and adult self. I understood her use of masturbation and alcohol to try to alleviate the intense aloneness and emotional pain. I understood the cutting and thumping music for the same reasons.
Then I just sat in the dark, in the stillness and the silence, and with my whole heart wished and prayed she would find a way in the coming weeks and months through her emotional pain so she could find a reason to live again and be wholly there for her daughters as she grew older. As people had been there for me when I was at my lowest.
I felt something click together in my head and heart. It was a physical sensation and a feeling of completeness that washed over me. Something closed up in me that I had not realised until then had still been open. A feeling of fullness and wholeness filled me.
I prayed to the universe to watch over the young woman, and in my mind’s eye I handed over the responsibility for her healing and destiny to the universe. I trusted that her journey and mine had collided for a reason, but that reason was completed now. I let go of her figurative hand. I felt the anxiety connected to what might have been happening with her leave me.
I started the car again and drove home. I felt deep within my bones that I had fulfilled a karmic debt, and the circle was complete.
I was released.

***Award winning book (finalist) in 2014 Beverley Hills International Book Awards***
Jenny Hayworth grew up within the construct of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, which she describes as a fundamentalist cult-like religion. She devoted her life to it for over thirty years. Then she left it. The church “unfellowshipped” her-rendering her dead to those family and friends still committed to the church.Hayworth is a sexual abuse survivor. The trauma changed her self-perception, emotional development, trust, and every interaction with the world.
Inside/Outside is her exploration of sexual abuse, religious fundamentalism, and recovery. Her childhood circumstances and tragedies forced her to live “inside.” This memoir chronicles her journey from experiencing comfort and emotional satisfaction only within her fantasy world to developing the ability to feel and express real life emotion on the “outside.”
It is a story that begins with tragic multigenerational abuse, within an oppressive society, and ends with hope and rebirth into a life where she experiences real connections and satisfaction with the outside world.
Those who have ever felt trapped by trauma or circumstances will find Inside/Outside a dramatic reassurance that they are not alone in the world, and they have the ability to have a fulfilling life, both inside and out.
Foreward Clarion Review – “What keeps the pages of Hayworth’s life story turning is her honesty, tenacity, and sheer will to survive through an astounding number of setbacks. Inside/Outside proves the resilience of the human spirit and shows that the cycle of abuse can indeed be broken”
Kirkus Review – “A harrowing memoir of one woman’s struggle to cope with sexual abuse and depression while living in – and eventually leaving – the Jehovah’s Witnesses”
Readers Favourite 5 Star Review – “The book is an inspiring story for those who are going through traumatic times…”
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Memoir
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Jenny Hayworth on Facebook & Twitter

ANNA'S SECRET by @MargaretWestlie #AmReading #Mystery #Historical

Angus trudged toward home after accompanying Sam to his own gate. The moon had risen and the countryside around was a shifting panorama of shadow and light. Presently he reached his own gate and stood for a moment gazing across the fields that were his farm. It’s a shame that this land’ll likely grow up in trees when we’re gone. I regret not having a son. I have no one to leave my property to, and the fields that I stopped farming two years ago are already going back to woods. I had thought to leave it to young Donald, him being my closest relative after Ian, but I don’t know anymore, the way he’s behaving. The gate clicked shut behind him and he started down the lane, his pace quickening as he caught sight of the soft glow of candle light from his kitchen windows. He could picture Mary there, darning a sock or hemming a winter shirt for him and humming one of the old songs, and he felt warmed by it. He slipped quietly into the candle-shadowy kitchen and stood for a moment watching her work. She sensed his presence and looked up from her mending, and smiled.
“You’re home, then,” she said with satisfaction. 
Mary looked at him keenly. “What’s troubling you?”
Angus met her bright gaze. “I was just thinking about all the unhappiness that Anna’s death has caused us, and we’re no nearer to finding out who did it than the day it was done.”
“Did you see Ian this evening?” Mary picked up her work again.
“No, but I saw the work of Donald, and it wasn’t good.” The chair squeaked as Angus shifted his position. “D’you know that young rascal paid Little Rory and James tuppence each to tie up Catherine’s cats together by the tails and hang them over the clothesline?” Indignation filled his voice. “The poor beasts were that frantic by the time I got there to free them! They’ll never be the same again.”
“Oh, dear-o! And she always made such pets of them. They were like her children. She’d have them in the house and everything. She’ll be heartbroken if they were hurt. … I wonder where Donald got four pence to give away? I didn’t know Ian paid him.”
“Well, that’s just it, where did he get the money? I’m wondering myself if I should tell Ian about this. He’s got enough to contend with now. What d’you think, Mary?”
Mary considered this in silence for a few moments, her hands idle in her lap. “It’s true enough that he’s got his hands full, but he can’t remedy the situation without all the facts. I don’t think it would be a kindness to keep this from him. It may be something that needs nipping in the bud. Donald may be heading for some real trouble that perhaps could be prevented if his father knew.” She took up her mending again, and settled her glasses more firmly on the end of her nose.
Angus looked across at her as she bent her grey head to her task, her work-roughened hands always so capable, neatly hemming a patch on his trousers that would make them serve another year. A great love for his wife filled his heart and he leaned over and kissed her wrinkled cheek, a rare expression of caring from an undemonstrative man. “You’re a good and wise woman, Mary,” he said.
She smiled back at him. “And I’m married to a good man.”

Anna Gillis, the midwife and neighbour in Mattie’s Story, has been found killed. The close-knit community is deeply shaken by this eruption of violence, and neighbours come together to help one another and to discover the perpetrator. But the answer lies Anna’s secret, long guarded by Old Annie, the last of the original Selkirk Settlers, and the protagonist of An Irregular Marriage. Join the community! Read Anna’s Secret and other novels by Margaret A. Westlie.
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Fiction, mystery, historical
Rating – G
More details about the author
 Connect with Margaret Westlie on Facebook & Twitter

Friday, June 20, 2014

FATAL GREED by (Greed #Series #1) by John W. Mefford @JWMefford #Suspense #Thriller

Tiffany ran her French-manicured fingernails across his hairy, salt-and-pepper chest. Finally, she spoke. “You scared me. More than usual.”
He didn’t reply. This tryst had been especially rough. He turned his head toward her, licked her shoulder, then bit it.
Tiffany winced, her body hardened like petrified wood. A desperate, tormented scream pressed against her rigid lips. It took every ounce of internal fortitude to keep the pain within. She clenched her teeth so hard her jaw nearly trembled, attempting to shift pain away from the lesion, where mangled flesh dangled off her shoulder.
Tiffany’s choppy, sputtering gasps nearly matched the pace of her machine-gun pulse. Her hand was clammy from the shot of adrenaline, but she calmly moved it to rest on her hip without drawing further attention. Finally, a deeper breath.
The two of them lay totally naked on the industrial carpet, a splinter of light from the window now slicing the middle of his body, starting at his groin. Their bodies were pasted together with dried sweat, blood adding to the toxic mix, the latest wound possibly the deepest.
A mixture of scents invaded her faculties: a combination of sour, repugnant body odor and copper, old-fashioned aftershave, and the smell of sex. She held her breath for a second, but the repulsive stench hung in the still air. It made her want to vomit. But she was used to suppressing her bile, and every human emotion around this living, breathing creature.
The man’s enormous chest lifted, reminding Tiffany that while he wore a mortal façade, he used physical intimidation to get whatever he wanted, whenever he desired. A brief clip from the past shot through her frontal lobe—his calloused hand gripping her neck like it was a pencil, his throaty, putrid, breath spewing threats. She nearly gagged at the thought and quickly attempted to think of happier times—frolicking in the park with her dear mother, tossing a ball around with a childhood neighbor, sharing ice cream with friends at the end of a hot summer day.
But her tortured, brainwashed mind couldn’t break free from the endless loop, replaying the last fifteen minutes.
A single tear escaped and slid down her cheek, hung for a second, then dropped in the open wound on her shoulder. It stung and she chewed the inside of her cheek.
They’d left their marks on each other, like wild animals marking their territories. But they both knew the agreement—nothing visible to the public eye.

Behind the façade of every corporate takeover executives pull levers this way and that, squeezing the last profitable nickel out of the deal. But no one knows the true intent of every so-called merger. 

No one knows the secret bonds that exist. 

An Indian technology giant swallows up another private company that has deep roots in North Texas. For one unassuming man the thought of layoffs, of losing his own job to a bunch of arrogant assholes feels like a kick to the jewels. 

Until the day Michael’s life changes forever.   

Perverse alliances. An affair of the heart. A grisly murder. A spiraling string of events thrusts Michael into a life-or-death fight to save a tortured soul and hunt down a brutal killer…one who lurks closer than he ever imagined. 

Greed knows no boundaries.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Suspense, Thriller
Rating – R
More details about the author
Connect with John W. Mefford on Facebook & Twitter

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Getting to Know Playwright & Author Robin Hawdon @authordebate #AmReading #Historical #Fiction

Image of Robin Hawdon

What makes you happiest?
This wonderful life, despite its setbacks.
What’s your greatest character strength?
What’s your weakest character trait?  
Why do you write?
It gives you two lives – the real one and the one you are creating.
Have you always enjoyed writing?
Yes, ever since a schoolboy.
What motivates you to write?
Originally being an actor in the theatre which led me to write plays.
What writing are you most proud of? (Add a link if you like)
Most of my plays to a greater or lesser extent (http://www.robinhawdon.com).  My first and latest novel.
What are you most proud of in your personal life?
Ah, that’s for others to say.
What books did you love growing up?
Too numerous to list.
Who is your favorite author? 
To many to choose.
What book genre of books do you adore?
All, but increasingly biogs.

The questions are always with us. Does God really exist? Are science and religion incompatible bedfellows? Charles Darwin shook philosophy to its foundations with his theory of evolution, yet strangely, he himself refrained from commenting in depth about the religious implications for fear of adding to the furor.
But suppose that he did in fact write down his conclusions as a secret addendum to his seminal work, Origin of Species. And suppose his beloved wife, Emma, who kept her own secret journal, was the only other person to know of this hidden postscript.
The novel Survival of the Fittest is the modern day story of the search for these two hugely significant works. An eccentric and endearing London antiquarian book dealer is hired by an equally eccentric American billionaire to track down the documents for his world famous collection of original manuscripts.
The complex investigation ranges across England, from historic towns and stately piles to prisons and Darwin homes, and involves a series of encounters ranging from the criminal to the romantic and the revelatory. Along the way, it explores the spiritual struggle within the extraordinary Darwin household, and the effects of that same struggle on the creators of the atom bomb and on modern terrorists.
Do we want to know the answer, or will it stir up a hornet’s nest?
This dramatic investigation of man’s spiritual dilemma occupies the spaces between authors Dan Brown and Richard Dawkins.
About the Author:
Robin Hawdon is one of Britain’s most prolific playwrights. His plays have been seen in over forty countries. At any one moment there may be over a dozen productions running across the USA, Europe, and elsewhere. This is his third novel.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Detective, philosophy, religion, historical
Rating – G
More details about the author
Connect with Robin Hawdon on Facebook & Twitter