Welcome to the new followers who have recently come on board. I thought it would be good to re-introduce myself and my work for those of you who are new to this blog. So, I have consented to be interviewed by… myself
Who is Flashback Girl? I am. That is the nickname my attorney gave me, decades ago, when he presented my case for law lectures, and even to the United States Senate. I used this nickname as the title of my memoir, Flashback Girl: Lessons on Resilience from a Burn Survivor. I liked the play in the word, which involves both my nickname; the concept of flashbacks, which plague many trauma survivors; and the idea of flashbacks as component of memory.
Who are you to give lessons on resilience? I come to this topic from two equally important directions. I am a survivor of multiple traumas: severe childhood burns, an isolated childhood in the hospital, school bullying, parental neglect, multiple family suicides (and more). Despite these challenges, I have managed to build a beautiful life, full of love, family, and success. I know a lot about resilience personally.
I also know a lot about resilience professionally. I am a clinical psychologist, and I have worked with clients for 30 years, helping them recover from their own difficulties. So, I bring a depth of professional observations and clinical experience to this topic as well.
What about that book anyway? Where is it? If I knew then how hard it is to get a memoir published, I might never have written one. Unless you are famous, most publishers will not even read your proposal, let alone publish your work. The feedback I have received, from many publishers, can be summarized into: “Amazing story! What a journey! Thanks for submitting but we aren’t doing any more memoirs.” (See here for more: https://www.lisedeguire.com/post/how-to-manage-crushing-disappointment)
How has this been for you? Devastating, thanks for asking. But, hey, I’m Flashback Girl, and my whole topic is resilience. So, face forward, chin up, and I’m moving on.
Still, can I read your book? Yes, soon. Unless a publisher comes along, my plan is to self-publish. I will be starting that work in January, and it shouldn’t take too long. My intent is for the book to be published in 2020. You should be able to purchase Flashback Girl on my website (https://www.lisedeguire.com/ ) or on Amazon.
Where does your blog fit into the book? A year ago, I began to work on increasing my social media platform. I tried to convince those publishers that I could be a tiny bit famous, so they would publish me. I started out by setting up a Facebook page for the book (https://www.facebook.com/DrLiseDeguire/?modal=admin_todo_tour) and then I got on Twitter (@DrLiseDeguire). My daughter set me up on Instagram (drlisedeguire6), and a friend suggested LinkedIn (DrLiseDeguire). Thanks to enthusiastic supporters and a lot of posting, I have gone from 300 followers to over 9,300 in less than a year.
A number of people suggested that an author blog would help to increase my visibility. I had no interest in writing a blog, and resisted the idea. At some point though, I began to envision that I could write a blog about resilience issues in general. It was exciting to see how many issues that I care about could be incorporated under the umbrella of psychological resilience. This blog has now been up for eight months, and has grown steadily in readership. Also, it turns out that I love writing it (https://www.lisedeguire.com/blog). Go figure.
I read your blog because I am a burn survivor, and I want more stories about that: Yes, and that will happen. I write about burns regularly, but not exclusively.
I read your blog because I am a suicide survivor, and I want more stories about that: Yes, and that will happen too, but not exclusively.
So then your blog stories are about…? I’m confused: My blog is about the larger theme of psychological resilience. How do we overcome hardship and trauma? How can we help each other endure tragedy? Sometimes, I tie in seasonal themes. Sometimes I write about parenting. And sometimes I write about an event that just happened, which intrigued me. Every blog, however, has a personal story, an overarching theme, and takeaways for the reader. Sometimes the takeaways are inspirational, sometimes practical, occasionally humorous. Always, in some way, the blog is about our human experience of life, struggle, hope, and resilience.
You do public speaking. Where do you present? Can I come hear you? In 2019, I started speaking about my work. I have given several talks now, for various audiences (suicide survivors, burn survivors, church community, and county health event) with more to come. I love to present, and I bring my whole heart to each opportunity. I post about future talks I am giving ahead of time, so if you are interested, please follow my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/DrLiseDeguire/?modal=admin_todo_tour) or my speaker's page on my website (https://www.lisedeguire.com/speaker-events)
Would you consider coming to present to my fundraiser, college, non-profit, church, temple, school, survivors group, book club…? Yes! Please contact my representative, Lisa Gage, at Hue Entertainment, to book me (https://www.huentertainment.com/)
Why are you doing this work? Life is difficult, much more difficult than we tend to acknowledge, or post about on Instagram. Many of us struggle, sometimes profoundly, just to keep going. Human suffering is common and unavoidable. Blessedly, human resilience is also more common than we think, and we each have some capacity to overcome difficulties. I tell my story as a vehicle to explain how much a person can suffer, and yet overcome and build a meaningful life. I also explain ways that we can increase our capacity to bounce back from life’s hardships.
How can I help you? Gosh, thanks for asking. It would be great if you followed me on my website, and/or social media. The more of a presence I have out there, the easier it is for me to get publishing support and speaking opportunities. I promise no spam, no advertisements, and I won’t share your information with anyone else.
If you like a blog piece, please share it with others! This is how I am gradually reaching a larger audience.
On another level, I write about deeply personal topics, and I send them out onto the internet. Sometimes I wonder if what I am writing makes a difference, although I think it does. So, it makes me happy when I hear back from people. I love to hear your thoughts and reactions to what I write. I am also grateful for suggestions about future topics for blogs. It is a serious challenge to write weekly in a meaningful fashion.
Thanks for your time. Any parting words? If I gave a list of everyone who has helped me on this crazy journey, I would be writing for hours. I am grateful for everyone who reads my work. I thank everyone who has supported me, believed in me, helped me make contacts, shared my work, introduced me to others etc.
I hope that my words are bringing some hope, contemplation, and inspiration into your world.
Lise Deguire's multiple award-winning memoir, Flashback Girl: Lessons on Resilience from a Burn Survivor, is available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Newtown Book Shop and The Commonplace Reader.