What is the Gist of Your Story? #12
Trudi Taylor has created a holistic healing practice as a counselor, massage therapist, and yoga teacher for 25 years. She has been a member of a writing group for the last seven years.
“Deficiencies in writing have held me back throughout my career. About seven years ago I said to the universe, I want to learn how to write effectively. All of a sudden, I started getting all these emails about a writing group forming with an area teacher. The writing group with its lovely teacher has become a major source of personal and professional support and maturation. I got practical help dealing with my dyslexia for the first time. It was amazing. I still have problems reading aloud—my idea of hell used to be a book reading, but I know how to handle it now.
Trudi on her work-in-progress book
I started writing this book after finishing the first draft of a very long novel. Writers block hit me like a ton of bricks. I had nothing to say. My writing group allowed me to wallow for 10 minutes, then said, “Write anything. Write about what you know.” So I looked around panic-stricken and then looked down—there they were. I thought, I know about my breasts. Snarky stories came spewing out of my brain.
About this time, many of my friends were starting to have issues with their breasts, such as cancer scares, acknowledgement of the changes that come with aging, dealing with their own and their children’s sexuality, and gender challenges. Friends started emailing me with stories. They cornered me in the coffee shop. One man, before caffeine, told me, “I like big floppy ones I can wear like ear muffs.” I discovered that everyone wanted to talk about breasts, fun bubbles, the girls, our tatas, and their moobs. This was the beginning of my book: Breasts Don’t Lie.
The book is in its final editing before I decide to self publish or go the traditional route of agent and publishing company. Over four years, the book has developed into a series of short stories. Each story is followed by a section containing factual information with references, activities for individuals/groups/classrooms, and resources based on the theme of the story.
Friends, male and female, proposed some story lines. Other story lines developed from the media and research. I went to see three breast surgeons to experience what it felt like to discuss augmentation and talked to many people about their processes with breast augmentation, reconstruction and reduction. People were very open and wanted to talk about their experiences. Over time it became clear that people lacked a structure and a forum to talk about these issues unless you were talking about breast cancer.
The book has received wonderful support from people in my writing group, different reading groups, and people and organizations in the health community.
The premise of Trudi’s book
Breasts are a liminal body part. They announce the transition from one state of being into another. Breasts change with pregnancy and breastfeeding. Breasts age and show our life experiences. Breasts move people from health to sickness into death or back again into health. They define our gender. They influence our relationships with other people. They are the focus of our work. Breasts are an integral component of our sexuality. Breasts are the doorways delineating movement from one territory to another. Breasts Don’t Lie is neither purely medical nor puerile like the majority of books published about breasts.
The themes that drive the short stories in Trudi’s book
While the short stories in the book are arranged by chronological age of the main character or characters, the stories deal with universal themes of love and loneliness or grief, male and female perspectives on beauty, health and sickness, sexual desire and the lack of sexual desire.
Remember, effective book publicity relies on strong promotional messages, which are extracted from the themes contained in your writing that, collectively, make up the premise of the story.
Promotional opportunities for Breasts Don’t Lie
With the arrangement of the book, it can be read alone or by groups of people in book clubs, or provide the structure for classrooms and support groups. The content is appropriate for late teenagers and older, all genders, and sexual orientations. I will be contacting some high schools and universities, organizations such as Planned Parenthood, the American Cancer Society, and the Gynecomastia website to generate interest in the book. Various organizations and health groups are already showing interest in book, especially overseas. An enticing idea was to adapt the stories so they could become a series much like Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues production. There are a myriad of ways the book can be promoted.
The Facebook page of Breasts Don’t Lie will feature information updates. The informational snippets are designed to inform and stimulate discussion. Short videos are being developed to go onto the FB page. A videographer is helping develop a series of videos from people in the community who are going to talk about topics in the book. A young adult girl talks about her concerns and peer response to her having small breasts. A man talks about his breast cancer scare and the removal of a tumor. A physical therapist talks about the challenges of working with female clients. A woman talks about her response to getting older and the changes aging has made on her breasts. A doctor talks about her response to examining breasts. These videos are in production and will be posted on the FB page starting in the summer of 2013.
Overall, Breasts Don’t Lie is a tool for coming to grips, literally, metaphorically, and even playfully with your breasts and the bounty of breasts in your world.
Please note that, by popular demand, this blog series will continue a while longer.