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That's all I can say at this moment that will even begin to, halfway intelligently, express the deep humility that I feel at the publication of my first book: Arising From the Insanity: The Written Works of Naomi R. Butler Arthur!
At the risk of blowing my own horn, I feel the need to express my current thoughts and feelings in this blog. I hope that you will read on.
This morning I received an e-mail from a reporter from the Record Herald, my local newspaper, saying that they had received the press release for my book and asked for an interview for a feature article!
About ten years ago I started writing my first poems. At that time I had no intention of ever having them published. After all, who am I that anyone would be interested enough in reading anything that I wrote that it would be worthy of being put into book form and published?
Writing poetry simply became a way of releasing the pent up pain, grief, disappointments and humiliation over the emotional death I had suffered due to the many forms of abuse that I suffered as a child and into my adult years. Before that time, I had no interest in poetry; I disliked it with a passion. An English professor of mine read a few of my poems and asked me what I was going to do with them. I’ll never forget her words. She said, “I never tell people that their writing is good unless I truly believe it is. I’m telling you now that you have a gift for writing. Now, what are you going to do with it?” She said, “You can’t just write these poems and put them away and forget about them, they have to be published.” Of course, I didn’t really believe her; I thought she was just trying to be nice to encourage me to keep doing better. That was more than ten years ago. I continued to write and dream of the day that I would eventually see them published. I thought that someday after I was gone, my children would pick up the dream that I had and would, maybe, attempt to have them published. I gave up on my dream until this past summer when, Jarvis, a friend of mine from my church who works for a publishing company took them to his company to show. That was about six months ago. I picked up my dream again and compiled my poems into book form and I made the decision to see it to the end. San, my significant other, my daughter-in-law, Therese, my children and my friends have been my biggest supporters and sources of inspiration in seeing this book published. San and Therese have helped me to edit the book. (I still have trouble with punctuation.) Without these angels in my life, who were certainly sent to me from God, I would have never had the courage to tell my ugly story for the public to read.
I did not finish school. I quit school when I was in the 8th grade to get married to a man who was some thirty years my senior because I was pregnant. (He was not the first or the last to take advantage of my naivety.) I was fourteen. I was humiliated beyond belief. I gave birth to my first child, Yvette, when I was fifteen. I did not obtain my GED until after I was into my early forties. I took a several college courses, including Human Services, Art Appreciation, Business Math (yuck! math), and some English courses, including Creative Writing, etc.. However, I was never able to see any of my college courses through because of the aftermath of abuse that ate away at my heart and soul. In case people do not know, abuse, in any form, will rob a person of their self-confidence; abuse steals from its victims the ability to concentrate and remember details, it will destroy almost all of our attempted relationships, in extreme cases it will even cause them to feel so worthless that they will dream of, and hope for, death to the point that they will even attempt to put an end to the pain and the struggle they experience every day of their lives. The list of the effect of soul death goes on and on. I haven’t even begun to tell the story of religious abuse.
Through poetry and other writings, Arising from the Insanity tells the story of this writers struggle with the aftermath of abuse, the effects and the struggle, to revive the spirit within to stay alive and maintain her sanity. But, this book is more than that. It contains letters written to my children and to my “angels” that encourages whoever may read this book to fight with all they have left, to stay alive and to see their personal struggle to the end. We must also realize that mere survival is not enough, we all must find a way to LIVE after we have survived.
I pray that my readers will find inspiration and hope in every page of Arising from the Insanity!