Heather Cariou, Sixty Five Roses Author

Standing in Your Truth:  Finding the Courage to Claim the Story You Need to Tell

with Heather Cariou, Author of “Target Stores Recommended Read” Sixtyfive Roses: A Sister’s Memoir

Date:     Friday September 17, 2010

Time: 11 AM PDT |12 PM MDT | 1 PM CDT |2 PM EDT

Cost: FREE FOR NAMW MEMBERS (NAMW Members, the Call-in telephone number and conference call code are posted below.  If you are an NAMW member and cannot see the details, please login here and navigate back to this page).

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Telephone Number: (323) 417-0075
Participant Access Code: 330186#[/private_NAMW]

Not Available for the Live Call? NAMW members can access a link in the NAMW member area within a week of the teleseminar to download the audio mp3 of this call!

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In this teleseminar, Heather will:

  • Share her own story of moving through that fear and sense of danger
  • Offer quotes from other writers who’ve done it
  • And inspire you to dive deep into yourself, explore your truths, and emerge with the strength claim, and stand in them unshakably.

After taking many years to write many drafts of her book, “Sixtyfive Roses: A Sister’s Memoir,” Heather nervously gave what she thought was the final draft to her parents for their consideration and feedback.  Although they usually spoke with each other by phone at least twice a week, for a month there was silence between them.  Then she travelled to visit them.  Sitting on their back porch, after tea and some catching up, she screwed her courage to the sticking place and asked them what they thought of the book.  They exchanged sidelong glances, and then her mother spoke.

“We’re very proud of you.  We don’t agree with everything you wrote, and we’ve found some of it hard for us to read. [emotionally]   Most importantly, however, we sense that you are holding back.  Perhaps you are afraid of hurting us,” her mother said.  “But if there is anything I’ve learned in my life, it’s that if you don’t stand in your own truth, you’re not worth anything.  Go back and write what you need to write.  Your father and I will find a way to deal with it.”

Not everyone is lucky enough to have parents like hers,  but it’s important to write as if you do.  Heather spent two more years on the book, by the way, this time going all the way to her centre. She emerged with the manuscript that found publication.  And her parents were as good as their word – they found a way to deal with it.  Every review of her book mentions first and foremost the courage and honesty with which it is written.  And the truths Heather told, in the way she told them, have liberated her as I never thought possible.

Whether or not you are not writing for publication, you must seek and express your own deepest truths, or your writing will be a waste of time and effort.  Our own self-realization is the greatest act of healing we can give the world.  Poet Adrienne Rich calls it “diving into the wreck.”

Heather will touch on:

  • The willingness to wrestle with your story, your angels and your demons
  • The power of exploding your own myths, and finding the gift(s) in the story – which come from your truths
  • The understanding that you can’t change the facts of your life, but you can change the way you tell your story – and liberate your truths and your writing in the process
  • The use of craft, especially metaphor, as a way to access and frame your truths

Poet Audre Lord says, “We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own needs for definition and language…the transformation of that silence into language always seems fraught with danger.”

About Heather: Ms. Cariou was born, raised and educated in Ontario, Canada. As a child, she dreamed of becoming both a writer and a ballerina. When she learned the fates of the Bronte sisters, Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath, she chose ballet over writing, and trained for a time at the National Ballet School of Canada. She fantasized that fans would someday drink champagne from her toe shoes, a la Anna Pavlova. Seeing Elaine Stritch as “Mame” in 1969 changed all that, and she decided to become an actress.

As a teen, she was active in several community theatres, high school drama clubs, and was an award-winning young actress in her community. She was also a founding member and Board member of the Ontario Youtheatre. After two years at Ryerson University Theatre School in Toronto, and a third at Sheridan College in Oakville, she graduated with a High Honors diploma in Media Arts. Ms. Cariou made her professional debut with the company at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, where she remained for three seasons. She also became a founding member of the Center for Actor’s Study in Toronto, and subsequently enjoyed a career lasting twenty years, acting professionally on stages across Canada and off-Broadway. While working as an actor, Ms. Cariou also held jobs in sales, fashion, catering, and business management.

As the daughter of the founders of the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Ms. Cariou has been involved in fund-raising and promotion for over forty years. She grew up the eldest of four children, and is growing old(er) as the grandmother of two.

She is a founding member of the Galaxy Writers Workshop in New Jersey, and sits on the Board of the International Women’s Writing Guild, to whom she owes her life as a writer. Ms. Cariou is proud to count the following authors among her mentors: Ted Conover, D.M. Thomas, Sally Bingham, June Gould and Eunice Scarfe.

Married to stage and screen actor Len Cariou, Heather is her husband’s “roadie,” dealing with every conceivable challenge of working and living on location. She is notorious for her ability to prescribe the right self-help book to anyone she’s known for more than ten minutes. Phrases that her friends and associates have used to describe her include “damn the torpedos” and “shoot from the hips.” She can throw a formal dinner party for twelve at the drop of a hat, and has cooked Thanksgiving dinner for the entire cast of a Broadway show on the road in a hotel room. An insatiable reader, her other favorite pastimes include writing poetry, walking, and gourmet cooking. She can golf if she has to.

Ms. Cariou emigrated from Canada to New York City in 1983, and now lives on the Hudson river in New Jersey, with a view of the city she loves. She is working on a novel.