Posts

essays

A smashed-up Barbie doll head??

I have mixed feelings about writing fiction. First, I have no formal training, other than a class I took as an undergraduate in college 40 years ago. Second, I understand non-fiction, which is journalism adjacent. Having been a PR person for decades, I feel comfortable with reportage, commentary, essays. Third, I feel grounded with non-fiction, because when I write an essay my job is to elucidate as clearly as I can a set of real facts and feelings on a specific timeline. Finding a jewel of clear truth while cutting away everything that dims it is a great pleasure as a writer.

But fiction? You make up absolutely everything. Will I ever feel like I’m any good at this??

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essays

Loss

I’ve written so much about loss – mostly because I’m trying to harvest the meaning of the most powerful experiences in my life. Some of my losses were visceral surprises, some echoed inside and opened ancient wounds. It’s those doubly powerful losses I had in mind as I wrote an essay called “A Brutal and Sacred Gift.” Here are the first few paragraphs…

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Coming alive

In May I took my first real vacation since lockdown started in March 2020. I was in beautiful Park City with two dear friends, all of us vaccinated, floating in the hot tub after a hike, when I felt something strange, vaguely familiar and delicious.

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essays

Where? Why? How? When?

Bear with me. I am now going to tell you a long, circuitous story with no clear ending. It’s about becoming “a writer.”

It was right around my 45th birthday (April 2008), that one of my BFFs took me for a birthday tarot reading with a guy named Howard, who studied the cards he laid out for me and said, “Your job is soul-destroying.”

“Why yes, Howard,” I said, trying not to laugh. ”It IS.”

Afterwards my friend asked me what I’d do if I left my career. A surprising answer bubbled up. “Well, I always thought I might write my memoir.” I think I first discarded that thought in college, but a few decades later I shrugged and thought, “Why not?”

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Goodbye Comfort Zone!

“You should rewrite this as a novel.”

That’s what my father-in-law said when he read a very early draft of my memoir in 2009. I dismissed that idea out of hand, because fiction – that realm of Toni Morrison and Thomas Hardy – that was too heady for me. Crafting a whole world, with layers of themes and ideas, that feels like something for the Gods. Non-fiction, which is closer to journalism, closer to craft, anchored by facts and memories, has always felt so much more accessible and less scary for me.

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The necessary power of beauty

“These times are riven with anxiety and uncertainty . . . Our trust in the future has lost its innocence. We know now that anything can happen, from one minute to the next.”

John O’Donohue, the poet, philosopher and scholar who died in 2008, wrote those sentences in 2003, in Beauty: The Invisible Embrace. But reading it now, in the Spring of 2021, feels eerie.

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Designed by Kathy Hiscox of Martin Marketing

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About Lisa

Lisa Poulson, a voice in favor of the complex beauty of female power, was once a tech industry badass, a grieving almost-widow and a faithful Mormon all at the same time. Now a writer in San Francisco, Lisa writes about grief, love and the complex beauty of female power.

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Lisa Poulson is the legal copyright holder of this blog. Contents may not be used, reprinted, or published without written consent.

About Lisa

Lisa Poulson is a voice in favor of the complex beauty of female power, the descendant of fiercely resilient Mormon pioneers and a woman who survived the death of her fiancé four months before their wedding. Lisa lives in San Francisco, where she spends her time absorbing and creating as much beauty as possible.

Join the conversation on Instagram!

Reminder

You are reading of your own will and choice. How you read, act on or don’t act on what you read here is up to you.

Reassurance

While lisapoulson.com does use cookies, which helps us understand how you engage with our site and where you’re from, we do NOT save your personal information - like e-mail, name or address. And, if you join our mailing list or comment on a post, we will not share (or sell) your contact information. We are not responsible for commenters or other third parties here.

Clarity

Lisa Poulson is the legal copyright holder of this blog. Contents may not be used, reprinted, or published without written consent.