Can Prejudice Cause
Writes Her Way into Health
we all experienced the devastation of bigotry?
We are diminished when we dish it out.
We feel keenly its destruction when it is directed at
us or at those we love.
I believe that years of suffering from suppressed feelings
of unworthiness due to bigotry contributed to my cancer.
That was twenty-five years ago, but I still consider it
a life changing—and surprisingly—a life affirming
I refused to let it beat me. I began to journal through
the prejudice I had experienced and eventually turned
my story into a novel.
is the Place is inspired by the stories that
I confronted. It tells the story of a young journalist,
Skylar Eccles who finds intolerance cloaked by family,
love and community and does not recognize it. By examining
her own history--several generations of hardy Utah women
who--and by experiencing a series of devastating events,
she comes to see she must make her own way in the world,
follow her own true north. Skylar Eccles is a fictionalized
version of me and is based on family records (the journals
of other women and my own.)
This Is the Place is out of print but it still
is available on Amazon’s New and Used feature for
about a dollar. Authors don’t receive a cent from
books sold on this feature unless they are selling their
own books. I still consider the feature a great service
to authors because it can keep a book alive. People can
still find a long out-of-print book to read. And most
authors care more about being read—sharing—than
Reviews and awards of this novel suggest that This
Is the Place is a winner. Misti Jackson, author of
Help from Above, said, "I look at the clock
and it says '3 a.m.;' I just can't seem to put it down."
Gompertz, UCLA professor and author of Abraham the
Dreamer said "This is the Place is a
magnificent book and Carolyn Howard-Johnson is a magnificent
writer. Her book is a joy to read. It is a work of
literary art. It is an important book. It is a book
that touches the heart, mind, and soul."
think I bring a unique perspective to my work. I was born
and raised in Utah and lived in Southern California for
many years. My life in Utah, my experience at the Salt
Lake Tribune, and my life outside of Utah including
a stint at Good Housekeeping magazine early in
life all brought me insight into the two cultures-the
Mormon and the Non-Mormon. Many years of experience made
me aware of the many faces of prejudice and allowed me
to write about them with a gentle touch. But I couldn’t
have this sense of accomplishment if it weren't for writing.
And I wouldn’t have written a novel if it hadn’t
been that cancer came knocking to warn me that if I didn’t
follow my dream in that moment, I might not get a chance
to do so.
if Prejudice can cause cancer, journaling or writing about
it creatively can cure it. I am living proof of that.
Tips and Tidbits
(Each month in this box, Carolyn
lists a Tidbit that will help authors write or promote
better. She will also include a Tip to help readers
find a treasure among long-neglected books or a
sapphire among the newly-published.)
Tidbit: Everyone is a writer these
days. They write on social networks. They
blog. They may even write books. My multi
award-winning The Frugal Editor will help
them with all the grammar and formatting
that their English teacher never taught
them. Or all the things that have changed
since their English teacher gave them an
The Frugal Editor is now in its
second edition in paper or as an e-book.
It’s been reformatted, updated, and
for Readers: This is a frugal gift
indeed. And, yes, it is This
Is the Place. I hope a few Back
to Literature readers find a moment to learn
about my first step out of repression into
health and use it to consider the value
of writing for their own happiness and health.
Howard-Johnson is a multi award-winning novelist, poet
and author of the HowToDoItFrugally series of
how-to books. She occasionally teaches classes for the
renowned UCLA Extension Writers' Program.
Website - My
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