An Interview with NAMW Member of the Month, Helen Lowery

Linda Joy: Tell us what you want to write about, or what you are working on.

Helen: I started writing after my dad died around six years ago. I wanted to capture the love story of my mom and dad and my childhood. We had an unusual childhood compared to other people I knew. We left our home in Fort Worth, Texas every summer to go to wherever my dad was working at the time. Unlike many other construction workers families we did not live in a mobile home and we never sold our home. We made do with cabins, cottages, other people’s upstairs or whatever Mother and Daddy could afford extra. We lived on a lot of lakes and in the mountains. As I said, our life was unusual but very happy.

Linda Joy: If you could imagine the title of your story, what would it be?

Helen: I have come up with many titles for all of the different stories that I have written. I tend to live my life with a lot of music and many of my stories have the titles of songs. One working title has been “No Separation,” because I believe in our universal connection to other humans and to everything else. I see myself in nature, in my grandchildren, in my mother’s aging hands and in the stars. We are everywhere and in everything and this is where my writing is going. Since the day I arrived here, I have been aware that this is a spiritual journey in a human body.

Linda Joy: What helps you get your writing done?

Helen: What helps to get my writing done, is writing with my Healing Writing Memoir group. I am not a typical writer. I say this because unlike so many writers I know who have kept journals and diaries, I didn’t. I am a talker, and too many of my days I am talking rather than writing. When I have a goal or a schedule, I will meet it. In our writing group, we have a deadline of Wednesday and I will get that done. We are taking a break this summer and I wanted to write nine stories over our break. I have not written a story yet. I wrote a letter complaining about the medical care my son received, but that has been it. I really enjoy writing, but it is still hard for me to make it a priority.

Linda Joy: What are your five favorite books?

Helen: Without a doubt, my all time manual to life is “Women Who Run with Wolves” by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. One of my earliest discovery books was Ram Dass, “Be Here Now.” Alan Cohen, “The Dragon Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,” Caroline Myss, “Sacred Contracts” and Sue Monk Kidd’s, “When the Heart Waits.” and “A Course in Miracles.” I have a rather extensive library and consider my books my companions, teachers and friends. I just started reading memoir in the past four years, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how much I have loved and learned from reading and studying with Mary Karr, Linda Joy Myers, Natalie Goldberg, Anne Lamott and Susan Wittig Albert.

Linda Joy: Is there anyone who does not want you to write your memoir?  Why?

Helen: I do not know for sure if not anyone wants me to write my memoir. I think my mother and two sisters would struggle with it because I would not cast them in a continuous good light, and they could have different memories than mine. I don’t think they understand this about memoir. Both of my sisters have read stories I have written, and they either love them or want to change them. Being the youngest, it always pleases me when my sisters are impressed with my writing, but it is not something that I expect or worry.

Linda Joy:  Talk about who the audience is for your memoir.

Helen: I think with the different stories there would be a different appeal therefore a different audience for each one. I mostly write with my children and grandchildren in mind because it is difficult to imagine my being professionally published. There are so many amazing stories and writers, and I think mine is a good story that would appeal to mostly women over the age of forty who are interested in living a life filled with love whose motto is “It will all be o.k. in the end. If it is not o.k., it is not the end.”

Linda Joy:  What is the most significant turning point in your life?

Helen: The most significant turning point in my life was one day I was reading my Bible in Sunday School, and I read the scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This horrified me. If I loved or treated someone the way I loved and treated myself, I would be labeled an abuser. This simple scripture set me upon my path to find out what love truly was, and to live my life according to this principle as defined in I Corinthians 13.

About Helen Lowery:

Helen is retired and living in Weatherford, Texas with her life partner, Dr. Kim Vogel. She plays with her adult children and her four wonderful grandchildren who range in age from one year to nineteen years. After thirty years Helen retired from working as a private practice licensed professional counselor, trainer, university instructor, advocate for people with disabilities and technical writer. She loves to travel, and the only thing on her bucket list is to take a cruise around the world.