Memphis-based author Victoria Terrell Traylor will gladly tell you that she has been renewed, rebirthed, revived and, yes, resurrected. She recently released her book of poetry, “Resurrected by the River,” hosting a packed book signing event at Novel Bookstore.
Traylor spoke to the audience of about 70 people about how the book came to pass. In her words, she “wrote her way out.” That is, out of an emotionally abusive marriage.
Through her poetry Traylor recounts the process of losing herself, finding herself and how she arrived on her journey of exploration, which ultimately shapes her existence today. She felt abandoned. She felt lost. She could no longer identify herself. She has written all of her life but, in this case, it became her saving grace, along with good counseling.
So, Traylor put pen to paper and those thoughts and feelings became her first book.
It should be noted that Traylor is also a licensed therapist, which provides some interesting perspective. Even as she faced her own struggles, she was yet able to walk with others on their path to mental health fitness. This also tells us that we aren’t alone in our day-to-day life struggles, even if it’s in areas other than personal relationships.
Traylor is also very clear that healing is an ongoing process. That’s the therapist in her but it’s still accurate. There are no sprints, no silver bullets, no panacea. Many therapists will have you keep a journal, if for no other reason that to reflect and review. It’s a great way to monitor your progress year over year, month over month and sometimes week over week. It be like that.
Through “Resurrected by the River,” Traylor takes readers on this “path to enlightenment” with her. A story of trauma and triumph, “Resurrected” is a winding road full of setbacks and comebacks, as life and relationships can be in general.
It’s divided into three sections that make the process plain – “Journey,” “Mirror of Pain” and “ Rebirth.” Isn’t that pretty much how it goes? You realize that there needs to be some sorta change in your life; something’s gotta give. You face your pain and challenges. Then slowly but surely you come out on the other side.
Let’s also talk about the importance of the title. Of course, the river connects us to Memphis. But water is largely symbolic of peace, calm and oftentimes spiritual awakening. I first thought of old-time tent revivals and baptisms where your burdens are washed away and you come up (from the water) brand new.
The title suggests that nothing is unfixable or “uncleanable.” You are more than your past, more than your mistakes. Moreover, no one has a perfect life or a smooth road.
“Perfection is not the goal,” said Traylor. “Each day all we can do is give our best effort. Life is about learning from our experiences. A lot of times our healing comes from sharing our journey. Every day is a new day to choose to create the life you want to Live”.
But be clear; this was no pity party. We all came to celebrate and be inspired. And inspired people were! The folks I spoke to connected to the realness and rawness of the words, which left them feeling encouraged. It was a festive evening where we ate, shared and raised a glass to toast not just Victoria but our own respective victories, big or small. It was a good night.
“Resurrected by the River” can be purchased at Novel Bookstore or on Amazon.com. Her practice, Choose Create Live, is located at 11 S. Evergreen St.