Your Word Goddess

The way is love

Back to writing: Why are my characters being rebellious? They’re just fictional, right?!


I read through the first draft of my novel. I have 68 pages done and about 40 more to come I think.

I’m beginning the most intricate part of my novel, the ending. When it all comes together. Or when the shit hits the fan depending on how you want to look at it.

As I was reading the first draft, I realized in some ways my characters have done things I didn’t expect them to do. Before I began my book, I worked out a story weave and each character very clearly, but even then situations started popping up as I wrote.

Characters became spontaneous with ideas of their own and even I wondered what they were thinking or talking about. How can a fictional character decide to change my well-planned story? Well, they just can, as I’ve realized.

It’s an exceptional experience when you’re writing and one of your characters does something unexpected. It’s like a “Who’s writing this anyway?” moment. Am I writing the character or is the character writing through me? I still don’t really have an answer for that.

I have learned to just believe in the process and keep going. Even though sometimes I kind of scratch my head in wonder.

And as I read events or dialogue I didn’t anticipate, I realized I’m not sure what is going to happen or even what some of the characters are going to do as my novel moves along and comes to a conclusion.

In my head I’m working on the first of a trilogy. That’s how I envisioned it, but I guess I’ll have to see what my characters want.

I know they’ll be another book after this one because I can kind of see it a bit in my mind’s eye. Some images, some feelings percolating. So the story will continue. That’s good.

I am back to working on my book. I’d like to have the second draft done by the end of this year so I can send it out to my trusted friends for some critiques. I hope that works out. It’s been years I’ve been working on this book. And as I’ve said before, I don’t believe I could’ve written the end until now.

I needed to figure out some things in my own life before I could progress with my main character. Writing is art after all. It takes the time that it takes.



From the series, Write On! by Jacqueline Snider, writer and editor

My women’s group comes through again: Being on sabbatical in everyday life


My women’s group on Monday night was as amazingly magical as usual.

The topic was sabbaticals, what are they and how they are meaningful (and so necessary) in our lives.

The host was our minister, and she explained her recent 3-month sabbatical to us and how we can all use them in our lives.

The topic was particularly relevant to me because I have been on a sabbatical of sorts for the last four months. It has been a period of inner reflection, coming to terms with who I am, where I’m going and who I want to be.

Two events in my life started off my sabbatical. My fiance broke up with me and I had an epiphany with my mother.

The two are not entirely unrelated, as I came to realize.

My fiance was verbally aggressive with me so I left and he broke up with me.

My mother was verbally aggressive with me and a bully during most of my childhood and I left her too. I moved from Toronto to Montreal at the age of 18 to go to university. I didn’t know a soul here. I never moved back.

I don’t regret either decision.

My ex-fiance and I have been airing our grievances and feelings for each other on and off over the last couple months.

My mother and I have been doing the same for the last 15 years. Until this Christmas.

This Christmas was different.

I had forgiven her and she no longer made me edgy or uncomfortable to be near her. I had come to trust I’d defend myself and that she’d behave. And we had a heart to heart that happened quite naturally at the dining room table.

My step-father was there too and he asked me why I’d want to be in a relationship with an aggressive man. I looked at him and I looked at my mom and said, “Because I lived that with my mother so I keep continuing the pattern in my relationships.”

That was a moment I never expected to live. Why? Because abusers don’t often admit nor regret their abuse.

But as I looked at my mother such pain and regret crossed her face. I never ever expected to see that moment. I didn’t even believe she felt that way.

As a girl it was obvious to me that she enjoyed hurting me and causing me to collapse in sobs on the floor. That she wanted to unhinge me and make me feel like nothing.

That was the mother I grew up with. And if she wasn’t being verbally abusive she was neglecting me and treating me as if I were inconvenient. And these patterns have repeated in my personal relationships time and time again.

And these two events have changed me in ways I never could have predicted.

I have been on sabbatical inside myself. It’s as if I’m on a mission to heal myself completely. And be able to truly let my anger go.

This has been really scary. I don’t feel like the person I was in a lot of ways. I often don’t recognize myself.

I am more open. I am bolder. I am calmer. I feel very vulnerable, but free at the same time. I cry easily and often, over sad things and happy things. I stopped drinking alcohol and caffeine drinks. I have switched to a mostly paleo diet. I am no longer overspending or being extravagant with my money. I no longer feel trapped. I started yoga. I am knitting again.

But there’s more. I no longer feel vulnerable expressing my true feelings. It has taken some considerable effort, but I have broken through that part of me that felt I needed to earn people’s love because I wasn’t worthy of love for who I am. That stopped me from saying things that I thought might turn people off or send them away.

But now I truly get the idea that if you are yourself with someone and they don’t want to be with you, then they are not meant to be with you. It’s as simple as that.

It’s not about them being mean or spiteful or whatever, it’s just about them being them and me being me. And it’s not as if I don’t have a choice in the matter. I don’t think I really believed I did sometimes before, but now I see very keenly I do.

And my intuition told me if your with someone you’re meant to be with them, and if you’re not with them then you’re not.

It’s that simple.

So I am coming to terms with not being in a relationship anymore. And I have laid things to rest with my mother.

I care about them both. Likely always will.

But I know deep inside myself that standing up for myself and defending who I am has got me here. It’s been a hard road, and I’m still on it, but I am more for all that I’ve learned, and for all that I am.



From the series, Because I’m a woman and because I can! by Jacqueline Snider, writer and editor

Denial, and lies we tell ourselves: They ruin relationships


I feel as if something is changing.

Do you ever feel like that? As if you can feel something has altered and your life has become different?

That’s how I feel today.

It happens to me sometimes. It’s like a moment that settles into my very body, even my soul. I don’t always find out what I’m sensing, but sometimes I do.

I have been watching Hinterland, a TV series from Wales. It is fantastic, raw, brilliantly emotional and tragic, but hopeful too.

One of the main themes is how lies and denial affect our lives, sometimes in some terribly tragic ways. How events, moments not talked about, not acknowledged, buried can create psychoses that manifest in strangely clear ways years later.

The pain doesn’t go away it festers and alters into something almost alive. It consumes the people who feel it, and it gnaws away at their very soul. Until they do something…

I have experienced denial in my life, and I’ve seen others do it. And it does ruin relationships, but foremost our relationship with our self.

Because denial and lies become almost real, we come to believe them and then they twist into our relationships and ruin those too.

And then where are we but alone with our mixed up selves.

I’ve done it. And I’ve been with people who’ve done it. Who do it. They can’t seem to learn.

And the person who looks back at you about an issue, something you’ve done that they can’t let go, for sure are doing it themselves.

My ex-fiance thought I was being irresponsible with money, and in a way I was in denial about my debts and my financial situation, and I fixed it. I’m still working on it, but I took concrete steps to fix it.

But still he went on and on about it and I thought, why? And then he got speeding ticket after speeding ticket. He bought a new car and very quickly had an accident, so his car went into the shop. He’d had too many accidents, too many claims and his insurance company cancelled his coverage.

He said he thought he had bad karma.

But his licence must cost a lot to renew with all those demerit points from speeding. The accidents always cost some money because you pay your deductible. You pay for towing. And what about the inconvenience, the drama in your life that’s really pointless. Your time is worth a lot. And then when your company cancels your insurance, how much are you going to pay with a new company with such a poor driving record?

And then of course there’s the why?

Why does he speed? Why is he reckless? Why does he take the chance with his own life, and other people’s lives? And if he thinks I’m irresponsible with money, well, what about him? He’s spending useless money on avoidable things. Things he can change by simply slowing down. He’s being reckless with lives.

But he doesn’t slow down. No, he thinks he has bad karma.

He doesn’t have bad karma, he’s in denial. Just like I was about my financial situation. But I’m not anymore. But he still is. He’s angry with his insurance company for cancelling his insurance, but what about facing the fact that he’s a reckless driver and he needs to stop that. To stop being dangerous on the road. The universe is giving him lots of signs that HE needs to change, but all he can do is blame his karma.

And how does his denial hurt his family? His friends? They all worry about him, but he doesn’t worry about himself. He just wants to do whatever HE wants to do. Fuck the consequences.

That’s denial. That’s telling yourself lies. And that hurts everyone, but especially himself. Because I’ve learned that my denial cost me a lot and his denial is too.

He must know deep down inside that it’s his fault. That his behaviour is only his, he’s responsible for it. But he’s not changing. He may end up killing himself or other people, or injuring himself. The universe keeps trying to teach us a lesson and they get harder and harder as it keeps trying.

And so I feel a change coming over me. Yes, I was in denial, yes, I made choices I regret, but I never hurt anyone with them except mostly me.

We’ve got to learn to forgive ourselves and face who we are. No one is perfect. And everyone is important. We’re here for a reason.

We have to look at the why behind our behaviour.

If we don’t do that everyone suffers.


From the series, Because I’m a woman and because I can! by Jacqueline Snider, writer and editor

Fanning my inner fire: Friends who speak from the heart


Many years ago I was invited to speak at a book club, the members wanted to hear what the role of an editor is in the writing process.

I am a writer and an editor, and I mostly edit books, so I agreed to go and talk a bit and answer their questions.

One of the members has kept in touch with me throughout the years, mostly on social media or by email, and we’ve kept up a friendship this way. (We keep saying we’ll meet for coffee, but we haven’t done that yet.)

He’s a writer by profession as well, and a very good one.

We don’t talk about writing, however. We talk about life.

It is fabulous for me to have a friendship with a man who lets me see his inner soul. He recently shared with me a very unsettling emotional experience that he lived last September, and I was able to see into his heart.

Despite the fact that I’ve had many boyfriends, and been in lots of relationships and two marriages, I have rarely seen into a man’s heart. An irony that has not been lost on me.

I am at the point in my life where if people don’t let me into their heart I don’t feel I can connect with them, so him sharing his experience with me was really profound. It was exactly what I needed that day too.

My fiance broke up with me in September 2017, and since then I’ve been coming to terms with yet another failed relationship. I know I can look upon the endings as learning experiences, and to a certain extent they are, but they’re also very heartbreaking and sad too. The learning for me comes after the heartbreak heals a bit.

I know my inability to choose relationships that are sustainable has been because of the abuse I suffered through as a child. I have no doubt that the two are connected. But there’s more going on than that.

There is a self-destructiveness that comes with being an abuse survivor and in my case that ended up manifesting as depression and anxiety. I simply didn’t feel lovable as a child, and therefore I didn’t love myself.

I’ve said this to people out loud, in person and the looks I can get are pretty amazing. They range from “What the hell are you talking about? Are you crazy?” to “I so get that, I’ve had trouble loving myself too.” And the ones who think I’m crazy so don’t love themselves. And I identified with them because I didn’t either.

But I’m learning that I must love myself wholeheartedly and truly to have a sustainable relationship. It’s that simple, and that complex all at once.

So if I haven’t loved myself through all these relationships then I certainly won’t have seen anyone’s heart. That has become very clear to me too.

When my friend sent me his work on his experiences that had caused him so much emotional turmoil and suffering, I knew I had turned a corner. A man was sharing his heartfelt feelings with me. I was blessed.

And he shared them with me I think because he knew I’d get them, that I’d understand, that I cared, and that I’d had a hard 2017 too. And I love that.

In healing himself, he’s helped heal me. And that’s the biggest gift there is in this world full of people cut off from their inner selves, and broken.

Because all it took was seeing the possibility of someone else’s heart that gave me the courage to love my own, and see my own.

I watched a video of Will Smith’s this morning and he said we need to surround ourselves with people who fan our creative fires, not with people who piss on them.


If I stop pissing on my own fires then I won’t let anyone else do it either.

And my friend who showed me his heart definitely fans my fire.



From the series, Because I’m a woman and because I can! by Jacqueline Snider, writer and editor

The flu and my period AT THE SAME TIME: I middle finger whoever came up with this idea!

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I am coming up with a rule that I’m going to present to the Goddess Above saying:

It is strictly forbidden for any woman to have the flu and her period at the same time. It is unfair to her sense of womanhood to be bombarded with the flu bug (whatever the hell it is this year) and her normal menstrual cycle, that can already make her feel like she’s been hit by a MAC truck. Women everywhere deserve more consideration for how crappy, achy and vulnerable they can feel at any one time.



From the series, Because I’m a woman and because I can! by Jacqueline Snider, writer and editor

Surviving towards thriving: Finding my wings


I was looking back through my journal before my breakdown about five years ago.

I could see very clearly that I was becoming more and more out of touch with my real life. I made comments that were more hope-based than actual. And even my handwriting didn’t look like me. It was more chicken scrawl than cursive.

I remember talking with a neighbour of mine who took the commuter train with me in the morning to work and one day she mentioned that she’d had two breakdowns and was hospitalized more than once for depression.

I had sat across from this together-looking woman for over a year by then, a woman who I’d always found very friendly and upbeat, and she was admitting to me that she’d fallen apart at one point in her life. And not only at one point, but at two!

I believe that after her admission, I finally felt I had the right to take a time-out from my life too. Deep within myself I knew I was coming apart. I may not have been admitting it to myself because I was holding it all together the best I could, but I was unravelling.

After I was in the emergency with gallbladder disease and I had it removed that was really when it all hit the fan. The months following my surgery and recovery, I spiralled down.

I really appreciate my neighbour telling me about her experiences because it gave me the permission (vicariously) to look after myself, and my inner child.

And for me the journey began four years ago and I’m still living it. My actual breakdown and absence from my work only lasted about four months, but my inner journey has never ceased.

My psychologist shortly after I entered therapy with her told me that I’m a survivor. And I am, that is pretty obvious.

But recently I have realize that’s not enough.

I can’t continue my life only surviving because that’s not healthy or real for me.

I can’t imagine what it’s like to not have been a victim of child abuse. I can only learn from what life gave me, both the bad and the good.

My experiences are starting to coalesce inside me and combined with all the books I’ve read and the inner-searching and healing I’ve done, something is bubbling to the surface.

It may be a book, an idea for this blog that’s more concrete or a way of life for me to thrive and not only survive.

Or it may be all of these things put together.

All I know for sure is that something inside of me can no longer accept just subsisting within myself.

My inner being wants more for me than that.

It’s an exciting time because I’ve worked very hard healing myself and learning to respect who I am to get here.

I will continue my journey and keep you posted.

I almost feel as if I sloughing off an old version of myself and birthing a new one. One that was always there, just waiting inside me for the right time to come forth and show her wings.



From the series, Because I’m a woman and because I can! by Jacqueline Snider, writer and editor

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