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Sara Baker (Thompson)
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Ambitious Bookseller

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Last updated: 10/11/2018
Ms. Sara Baker (Thompson)
Author -- Industry Groups: Authors
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Writer/Workshop Facilitator
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225 Henderson Avenue
30605  United States
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  author, media(blogger), school/educator
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When I was in my late thirties, everything in my life was pretty well on track. I had a good marriage, a beautiful family, taught English and writing at UGA, and published steadily in literary journals. My first novel was one of eight finalists in the Pen/Hemingway contest, with extremely complimentary reviews. Then all hell broke loose. At the end of a series of illnesses and trauma, I landed in bed, unable to walk, sit at a computer, or read a book.I had aphasia. I was told that I would never walk or write or read again. I was told I had a mysterious illness called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. There was no cure and very little treatment.

However, I am Irish and ornery, and when the doctors told me how my life was going to be, a little voice inside said,you don't know who you are talking to.I became a person I didn't recognize, fiercely determined to track down anything that would help me. I spent lots of time in hospitals and doctors'offices, not just for my own illness but for family illnesses. I had always loved teaching writing, and I felt that I wanted to offer writing as a way to heal to others. So, as I slowly healed, I read everything I could about writing as a healing modality, and I began to write The Timekeeper's Son. Even if I could only spend 20 minutes a day, I would keep at it. It was thrilling to be writing again, and for those 20 minutes, I wasn't just an invalid. I had an inner life, and the writing helped me heal. I also designed a course to bring to the cancer center. So,several years after I was told I would never get out of bed again, I went over to the cancer center and proposed my course -- with fear and trembling. The director took me on.

The work was good and vital because people were writing about their experiences and reflecting on them. Serious illness can force people to jettison a lot of baggage, and can free them to be open and direct. Furthermore, the groups became containers to hold pain,insight, humor, or whatever came up, so that what may have been frightening for a person to face on their own became less so when they had safe, caring witnesses From this experience, I came to understand how early trauma--and The Timekeeper's Son is about trauma--was so very often what needed to be addressed. The reason people came was because they had cancer, but the reasons they often wrote was because of some heartache which had never been addressed.

Teaching creative writing as a healing modality brought together my passion for writing and literature and my passion for healing.In the eleven years I taught at the cancer center, I was privileged to meet many amazing people and witness healing and transformations that testify to the power of the written word. I am humbled and awed by the participants' courage as well as their writings.

The Timekeeper's Son was born from this experience.
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