Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Guest Blogger Jane Rowan and The River of Forgetting

Hope that all of my American friends had a great 4th of July.  Today I have a special treat for my readers.  I have my first ever Guest Blogger, Jane Rowan author of the book The River of Forgetting here to answer some interview questions about herself and her book.

Thank you Jane for consenting to do this written interview with me so that my readers can learn more about you and your book.  I just finished reading your book a few days ago.  Your book is an amazing tale of recovery from incest through the use of Inner Child work.  Your story shows your courage and stamina in dealing with fragmented memories and frightened inner children. I knew a little bit about your story because of our initial contact on Twitter and on your webpage.  I was curious to understand how a person with only fragmented memories, at best, could go about healing from the wounds of incest.  I have six years of memories of my own incest abuse.

Why I was interested in reading Ms Rowan's book? Because I also have clues that my incest abuse started before the age of three.  I have a very definite clue in that at three years old, I labeled myself an adulteress.  I have no memories to go with that clue showing that I might have been sexually abused early in my childhood.  I was interested to see if Jane ever got her full memories back or had to work on just the clues.  I will soon be starting my own inner child work to see what I can recover.  I know that the memories are there being held somewhere in my child's mind and in my body-memories.  Like for Jane, my memories of this early incest are held by my younger inner children.  Inner child work is often the key to healing from abuse.

Welcome to my written interview with Jane Rowan, author of The River of Forgetting.  Ms Rowan's words are shown in italics.

1.  Can you tell my readers a little about your life before the memories started to surface?

As a science professor, I was busy and successful. I loved teaching.  The politics with some of my colleagues really got to me at times, and I found myself in conflicts fairly often.  Being a strong woman in a male field isn't easy, but my need for control was perhaps a bit excessive. I was divorced, with one grown son, and my father had died just a year before the memories began coming.  I didn't feel defective but my friendships were a bit unsatisfying and I was probably uptight.

2.  What triggered your memories?

Several things, I think.  My father's death was one factor. My son was out of the house, so I had more energy to tend to my own needs. I had been in therapy for a few years, and was thinking of terminating, when my therapist asked, "So what about relationships?"

For some reason, that question about relationships really struck deep, and I admitted I didn't have enough closeness in my life. Then one day when my therapist asked about how my Inner Child was feeling, I found myself in a profound fog, really far out there and lost.  It was dissociation, of course.  Then just a few days later, I literally woke up, first thing in the morning, to the first memory.  It was a very complete sensory memory of sitting on the toilet when I was only three years old, and it hurt to pee; I could see the bathroom and where the door was, and the bathtub and the window.  I didn't know what had happened to make me hurt.  I just knew that my mother's explanation of it was wrong.  That's what started me on the "detective story of the soul" that is my life and my book.

3.  What made you decide to write a memoir?

I'd been keeping a journal for years and years already.  When these memories began to overwhelm me with waves of feelings - doubt, nausea, grief, fear, rage - I needed to write more and more just to stay sane.  After six years of therapy about the abuse, when I saw light and joy coming into my life, I experienced such a wave of gratitude that I wanted to celebrate my work in therapy, the amazing process that it can be, and my therapist's skill and care.

It seemed natural, even mandatory, to write it out and share it.  Of course, as I wrote I experienced the feelings over again and understood more and more, so the book has layers of meaning for me and , hopefully, for the reader.  Readers tell me it takes them inside the therapy process as no other book does, and helps them see from the inside what the transformation can be like.  Although survivors' experiences differ, many of the emotions and reactions are the same.

4.  Give us a brief preview of your book.

My memoir begins at that moment when I woke up one morning with the memory I described to you above.  For the first year, I wrestled with daily doubts that anything could have happened within my loving, eccentric family.  Fortunately, I already was seeing a terrific, empathic therapist who was my lifeline through all of this.  As I delved into my past, I remembered snapshots of childhood memories of boat trips and daily life and endearing oddities, but also my father's affairs and strange things he said about sex. Then a specific body-memory came to me and whirled me into nausea and confusion.  It had no visual components but it was vivid and compelling. I could not have made up a flashback like this.  It was awful.

I found myself incredibly angry at my mother for her passivity that enabled my father to abuse me.  Then as she aged and was dying, I had to decide whether to confront her. Incidents at work brought out my latent anger and I learned to apprciate its positive power.  There was a creepy year in which a stranger sent obscene harassing letters to my workplace, in an intense reminder of the abuse.  Through all these life-events I continued to make sense of my early trauma and to befriend and care for the young self, my inner child, who had lived through and repressed the incest.  Gradually I came to feel love, joy and creativity in ways that were really new in my life.  And writing the book itself brought me to a new level of creative expression, catapulting me into retirement.

Thank you Jane for giving us insights into yourself, your journey through healing the pain of yourself and your inner children and your book.  I appreciate the the fact that you speak out about incest and the issues that go hand in hand with incest.  Gladly I will recommend this book to my friends.  As more of us speak out about our own abuse issues and how we healed ourselves, we give others the courage to start their own healing journeys.

If you are interested in knowing more about Jane Rowan and her book The River of Forgetting, you can go to the links that I will provide below.  The first link that I am sharing was from a radio interview that Jane did sometime last week. I hope that you will take the time to listen to this informative interview.


The River of Forgetting: A Memoir of Healing from Sexual Abuse



Again, thank you Jane for approaching me about this Guest Blogger article.  I appreciate the struggle that you went through to share your story and your book with other survivors of childhood sexual abuse. In sharing our experiences with incest and our healing journey out of incest, we help other survivors to know they are not alone and that they too can heal.


Jane Rowan said...

Thank you, Patricia, for this great opportunity. It is so inspiring to read your blog and now to collaborate with you. I hope to hear from your many readers.

Patricia Singleton said...

Jane, you are very welcome and I thank you for sharing your story and your book with my readers. I know that your book will help many incest survivors to do their own healing. Your book shows us that even through the healing can be painful, the pain is worth enduring because in the end healing is possible.

Bongo said...

Thank you Patricia for opening your blog to a guest post....and for sharing as much as you do...I am in awe of you and your insight...and thank you Jane for sharing yourself here...I have already shared the link to your book and will continue to do so..thank you both ladies..for letting others know they are NOT alone......As always....XOXOXOXOX

Patricia Singleton said...

Bongo, you are very welcome. Thank you for sharing the link to Jane's book. Appreciate the support.

Online Casino said...

thanks for inviting treat, and 4 of july was very nice day for Americans.

Patricia Singleton said...

Online Casino, I am glad that you enjoyed the treat of reading about Jane's book.

Jane Rowan said...

Thanks, Bongo, for your support and for your ongoing presence in the virtual world.

From Tracie said...

Great interview Patricia!! I'm definitely going to check out Jane's book.

thank you, also, for sharing this with the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse!

Patricia Singleton said...

From Tracie, thank you. I hope that more survivors will see this interview in Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse and choose to read Jane's book.

Marj aka Thriver said...

This is cool, Patricia. A guest blog interview! Thanks for sharing it for the blog carnival.

Patricia Singleton said...

Marj, it is so good to see you here and on the Carnival Against Child Abuse. I learned so much from reading Jane's book. She shares methods of healing that I wasn't aware of before. Jane is such a courageous lady. I am honored to have her book review guest post here.

Lynn C. Tolson said...

Jane Rowan's book sounds interesting and perhaps helpful to those who have vague memories of abuse before age 3, but no facts to define it. I don't think I've read a book based on Inner Child work since John Bradshaw. I'm eager to check out Jane's book.

Patricia Singleton said...

Lynn, Jane's book would be very informative in that she shares the experiences that helped her to process the pieces of memory that she was able to recover in order to heal them.

Jane Rowan said...

Hi, Lynn. I hope you do check out my book. I think a lot of people have incomplete memories, whatever age they may have been abused, and I think my memoir is useful to them.

But more important, I think, is the detailed journey through the healing process. The tender moments, the new joy.