Sarah L. Blum
Having gone through the Vietnam War as operating room nurse at the 12th Evacuation Hospital at Cu Chi in 1967, then struggling for years to heal myself following that horrific year, I was trying to make sense of it all through writing and to help others by sharing my experiences. Healing was the driving force behind writing for me. Then in the midst of that writing, I felt a call both internally and externally to write about the issue of sexual assault in the military. I was not prepared to do that, yet the call to fulfill my spiritual mission was strong. I put it off for years and eventually could ignore it no longer.
Once I began the project to write about military sexual abuse toward women serving in the U.S. Military, and met many of the women whose stories I would tell, I became highly motivated. Hearing their stories and being moved by their courage and tenacity, I believed I had nothing to complain about next to what they had been through, and so I pressed on. I moved forward with little experience of writing or the publishing industry. I moved forward not truly knowing where I was headed, yet supported by my faith that what I agreed to do was important and had to be done.
During my life, whenever I had occasion to meet someone new to me and share some of my life experiences, people always told me what a rich full life I have lived. That feedback always resonated with me and was another energy urging me forward to write about my life experiences. From my young years growing up with my own pain, neglect and abuse, with a lighthouse as my symbol of the Divine, my healing journey back to Vietnam in 1996, and many joyful experiences beyond, I had much to share in writing. The issue was not what— so much as how.
I learned about the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association, attended some classes and workshops at their conferences and began to learn how to write well. I also met other writers and began to share more of my journey with them. In the years of learning and sharing my writing, I never heard a negative response and felt emboldened to write, write, write.
I wrote about what touched me and what I had passion about. I wrote when I was moved to do so. I wrote opinion pieces for the local paper and online, I wrote about my age and activities like getting my black belt in aikido at age 68 then learning to row at 70, and becoming a coxswain for a rowing club at 76.
I write to share what I feel deep in my heart and to connect with others at that heart level. I write when the Spirit moves me and in hopes of reaching and touching others on a heart or spiritual level. I write to heal and to express love.