refining stories.

A writer is one who writes daily, one who gets grumpy when pen has no time to hit the page. Anyone, at any age, who feels alive when they play with words can claim this title as their own. Writers are surfers riding inky black waves, exposed to the heat of sun, experiencing bliss when all elements become one.

– jm

her writing journey…

A pile of books was hidden under the covers, annoying my father who insisted I turn out the lights. Jungle Book and Lady and the Tramp story-records were well-worn, piled high on my blue shag carpet next to my toddler-sized record player.

From toddler to teen, I consumed stories and created my own. Pretty pictures in markers and crayon accented my tales. College, however, brought the joy of writing to halt. My senior year was punctuated by a professor who suggested my analytical discussion of British Literature was too creative. He sent me back to the drawing board to drain the life from my words. As I removed all creative flourish from my essay I decided if this was “proper” writing, I wanted nothing to do with it.

Along came marriage and motherhood. Writing remained a dusty memory until Dr. Jin Robertson, a charmingly assertive Korean woman crossed my path at a writing conference. Californian housewife meets Korean US Army Major is not a likely match, but instant connection sparked. Less than 24 hours after our chance meeting, she declared I needed to help ghost write her memoirs for an American audience. She had sold a half million copies of her Korean memoir, but had yet to crack the American code. I insisted I wasn’t a writer. She insisted I was, declaring to be true what I couldn’t yet see. What I had no desire to do for myself I found joyfully doing for her. At first refusing to be paid, I became her volunteer agent, editor, writer, travel host and booker, constant companion, and spokesperson when she was visiting California. One day, in the midst of putting words to her fantastic tales, I realized I had my own stories to tell. We lovingly parted ways as she encouraged me to persue my passion for writing as she had. I had given her a year of my time, she had given me an unintentional glimpse into my future.

My own stories, tales too intimate to share, materialized soon after. With pen in hand, memories of this life, and many more from my ancient selves, started to surface as clearly as the sun in the sky. My soul stumbled through a visceral history. I came face to face with sides of myself far less innocent than the mother I was now.  

To handle the tsunami of emotion and physical reactions triggered by these experiences, I enrolled in a Spiritual Master’s program. In truth, I had no idea what I was getting into but my application was complete in less than a day. I had to attend. I had studied A Course in Miracles for nearly a decade. My stories were reflections of ACIM philosophies, but I needed guidance and community.

Once accepted into my Master’s program, I elected to write a memoir,  for my eyes only. Personal healing. My professor asked me to consider otherwise. She suggested my private worlds would be of use to others, the spiritual lessons lived, not those that had been sterlized for public consumption. Classmates held my feet to the fire. “Tell these stories!!!”

It has been a journey of sifting through time, shadows, and the dark spots of my soul, eventually realizing not all growth takes place in the light.

poetry…

 

The Ticket by Joanne…

For some reason
My smallness
Loves to consume me,
Believing I am alone
In conquering
The tremendous tasks
God hints at
Through dreams,
Journals,
Acquaintances.

Today I remember
My Smallness
Need do nothing.
She is only along for the Ride.
She didn’t build the tracks.
She didn’t hand-select the engineers
Or passengers.
She was only invited.
Given a free ticket
To be an extension
Of God.

 If she chooses.

It is not required.
There is no less love
Awaiting her in Heaven
Or on Earth
If she says no,
Choosing this life
To rest,
Simply touching wet moss on cedars
And absorbing motherhood.
But if this small She
Chooses to take the ticket
And remember
How very large God is,
Then fear becomes meaningless
And a journey
Too brilliant to fathom now,
Taken by the one within her
Who remains calm and silent,
Can Begin.

As a veteran Hollywood network and studio TV Development Executive, few stories have captured my attention as quickly as Joanne’s. Supporting her writing has been an immense pleasure. Experiencing her words come to life from idea, to chapters, to proposal has been a gift. Her stories are fresh and captivating. I look forward to working with her for many years to come.

Lucia Cottone – Knack Talent Creative Consultant

Reading something from Joanne Menon is a visceral experience. The rich texture Joanne draws you into is so real. Authentic at a different level. You actually experience yourself IN the storyline. It’s a five sensory experience with emotion spanning across the scale, bringing forward everything from one end of the spectrum, to the other. Joy, pain, rage, love, shock. I experience happiness, I marvel in her humor and laugh out loud. I’ve had tears streaming down my cheek with a lump in my throat and constriction in my heart. She evokes raw emotion through her words, but the deep level of reflection she invites through reading her work conveys wisdom, knowing, and a sense of wonder.

Donna Bond – Professional Life Coach

Joanne’s gifts as a spiritual mentor are unparalleled. Joanne worked with me to launch my online program. She was able to pinpoint holes in my content offering more depth and cohesion. She was brilliant at editing, tying up the loose ends, and offered inventive ways to engage my readers. She encouraged me to find my unique voice, focus on the Higher Purpose of my program, and helped me to more fully open to Spirit so the content could write itself with ease and grace. No more forcing ideas to come out! When I had moments of doubt and fear, she gently guided me through them. When I felt challenged with “What do I write next?” she was there to brainstorm, clarify my intentions, and encourage me to persevere. Sometimes my feelings get tender when someone is editing my writing but Joanne was compassionate, sensitive, and struck the perfect balance of praise and tough love. She has a clear, concise communication style that makes receiving feedback effortless. What a gift I gave myself by working with Joanne.

Krista Kim

– Founder Bridge to You, Your Soul’s Journey Through Divorce

Joanne has that extremely rare and beautiful ability to share her truth- the devastation and the reclamation- in a way that touched me deeply.

Donna DiFucci Otmani
– Director, Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts