EP 150: The Healing Power of Writing: Kiesa Kay

Diana WinklerDomestic Violence

Writing your story can be a huge tool for healing from abuse. My guest Kiesa Kay talks about her new writing workshop series for abuse survivors that is free to join! We have a wonderful conversation talking about her children’s books, poetry, and other writing projects. This is a refreshing look into the realities of the abuse in the world, but the enduring hope of the Lord’s healing! Join us!

Website for the workshop:


Hendersonville Theatre (HT) continues its New Works Series (formerly called Staged Reading Series) Saturday, September 9 at 3 p.m. Showcasing the work of area playwrights and performed by local actors, The New Works Series is a FREE public reading of a new play in development. However, donations are welcome to support HT.

HT’s New Works Series offers exciting script-in-hand readings of new plays by emerging local playwrights. The readings are followed by a talk back with the playwright and actors to provide feedback to the playwright.

A short discussion will follow each reading to provide feedback to the playwright about their script. There is no charge to attend or to participate, however donations are welcome and will be used to support HT.

Hendersonville Theatre is committed to exploring and developing new work for American theater, supporting local playwrights with their creative process from concept to production.

Sky Eyes by Kiesa Kay will be read on September 9. Sky Eyes is a play with original music written for the play by Brad Hodge. The play is a look at a week in the life of a North Carolina family during the 1950s. Abby, the mother, works on the railroad to support her two daughters and put her husband, Jack, through college.She learns she must be strong  in more ways than she imagined.

Kiesa Kay, poet and playwright, has written two produced plays. Love Makes a Home: The Story of Rebecca Boone was chosen as a convocation for Berea College in Berea, Kentucky. The play has been presented in a dozen venues, including Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, the Thomas Wolfe Center for Narrative at Lenoir Rhyne University, the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway, White Horse Black Mountain. the Orchard at Altapass, and the Chapel of Rest in Lenoir, NC. During the pandemic, it was livestreamed by Ouachita Little Theater in Mena, Arkansas. The play has been directed by five different directors and features music of frontier days. 

Kiesa’s play Thunder is the Mountain’s Voice was shown at Rocky Mountain National Park, Park Village Playhouse, and as a staff celebration for YMCA of the Rockies, directed by Dr. Virginia Floyd. Kiesa also has some directing experience, and directed A Tale of Two Charlies by Jo Carson, presented at the Orchard at Altapass and White Horse Black Mountain.

Playwrights who would like to submit work for consideration for the New Works Series can follow the submission guidelines posted at here and email questions to playsubmissions@HVLtheatre.org.

Since 1966, Hendersonville Theatre has provided an inviting and nurturing environment for live theatre, as well as high-quality, affordable entertainment for the residents of Hendersonville and surrounding areas. Hendersonville Theatre is wheelchair accessible, with free parking behind and in front of the theater.

The cast of Sky Eyes

Amanda McLoughlin – Abby

Briana Clary – Suzy

Ruth McLoughlin – Cara

Gary McClain – Jack

Jerry Fitzgerald – Ace/Stage Directions

Blaine Weiss – Leila/Stage Directions

Here’s what’s coming up for the rest of 2023

Oct. 14, 2023 at 3 p.m.
Oy Vey Y’all! by Erica McGee 

Ester, a Jewish woman from upstate New York and Lynn Louise, a Christian woman from Savannah, GA., meet at a retirement community in Charlotte, NC, where both their children live. Dislike turns to appreciation when they discover they have more similarities than differences. A  comedy exploring prejudices. 

Playwright Erica McGee is an actress, vocalist, playwright and teacher. She is also the Dramatist Guild Ambassador for North Carolina. She says, “the character Lynn Louise is based on my own mother, who passed away a few years ago. It is, in fact, a love letter to her that offers a unique perspective on aging and faith within our relationships and ourselves.”

Nov. 11, 2023 at 3 p.m.
Beatle Girls by Todd Olson

Freda Kelly was a teenager when she ran the Beatles Fan Club with a room full of other excited girls, writing the newsletter, answering fan letters, and enlisting the “four lads” to give them everything from autographs to wisps of hair to mail to thrilled fans world-wide. Now Freda and her girlfriends – all decades older – go back in time and tell the inside story of what life was like as the British Invasion began and the phenomena that was “The Fab Four” emerged from post-war Liverpool. A close ensemble of 6 actresses play everybody in the ever-changing world of the 1960s, with music, love, and Beatlemania! 

Todd Olsen is the Artistic Director for the Davidson Community Players in Davidson, NC. Produced works include I Left My Heart (Milwaukee Rep), Casa Blue (the last moments in the life of Frida Kahlo) (American Stage), and My Way (Actor’s Theatre of Louisville). Todd’s new adaptations include Lysistrata, War of the Worlds, Dracula (premiered at the Arkansas Shakespeare Festival in 2010), and Agatha Christie’s The Secret of Chimney’s and Murder on the Links.  Joe Corso Re-Enters from the Wings was workshopped at the Wellfleet Harbor Actors’ Theatre Winter Playlab in 2010. It won the 2012 Holland New Voices Playwright Award at the Great Plains Theatre Conference and is now published on Amazon.com. Todd received his M.F.A. from The University of North Carolina, and is a graduate from the Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard. He has been a Teaching Fellow at Harvard, and taught classes at Vanderbilt, Boston University, and the University of North Carolina.

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Free Healing Coaching Intensive


KIESA Kay Transcript

[00:00:00] Welcome to the Wounds of the Faithful podcast, brought to you by DSW Ministries. Your host is singer, songwriter, speaker, and domestic violence advocate, Diana Winkler. She is passionate about helping survivors in the church heal from domestic violence and abuse and trauma. This podcast is not a substitute for professional counseling or qualified medical help.

[00:00:26] Now, here is Diana.

[00:00:33] Diana: Hey everybody, welcome back to the podcast. How are you guys doing? It’s a great day and we have a wonderful guest on the show today. I think you’re going to really like her a lot. I know you’re saying. Diana, you say that about every guest. But I wanted to mention some new subscribers.

[00:00:55] Diana: I’m sorry if I haven’t, mentioned these before. I’ve gotten some new [00:01:00] subscribers on YouTube, and I want to thank you guys for subscribing. So I’ve got the list in front of me here,

[00:01:09] Diana: Reinhard Ankenbauer, I hope I’m saying that right, Dr. Mark McNeer, now he’s going to be on our podcast next week as a guest. Etana Holowinko, she is my friend from Israel, and she is… The one behind my website. She is amazing. So she has subscribed to the podcast. You guys need somebody to help you with your website, your WordPress site.

[00:01:40] Diana: She is the one. And, she’s gotten me out of some hot water too when the site has crashed. So. Be sure to look her up. High Definition Stanley, Stephen Ewan, RJ Nipple.

[00:01:54] Diana: So those are the most recent ones. So I thank you [00:02:00] for subscribing. Welcome to the podcast. Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you guys.

[00:02:06] Diana: And I think this is the last week that Stitcher is doing podcasts. So if you have Stitcher that you’re listening to me on audio, um, please pick another platform, go to my website, dswministries. org to find out which platforms I’m on, pretty much all the major ones. Other housekeeping bits.

[00:02:31] Diana: Hmm. Oh, I have decided Since I will be laid up for another couple weeks for surgery that I’m going to start a Facebook Group a private Facebook group just for the podcast. It’s called the Wounds of the Faithful podcast group. And so I have created it I’m still putting the final touches on it But I’m going to launch it the week that I am laid [00:03:00] up.

[00:03:00] Diana: And so make sure you go and join the group. If you’re a listener of the podcast, you’re welcome to invite other people, but make sure you tell them to listen to the podcast first, please. But it’s basically going to be a group for folks to get encouragement, support, prayers, um, positive reinforcement, uh, encouraging Bible verses.

[00:03:26] Diana: You know, just to have a community. I will be doing this podcast for three years as of, let’s see, the end of October. And so I think it’s time to create a community. I have sent out… Uh, surveys asking you which platform you want to be on for a community, but nobody really gave me any feedback. So I’m going to try Facebook.

[00:03:49] Diana: So I’m going to post, obviously the podcast episodes. I’m going to post my music. I’m going to post maybe some book recommendations. I [00:04:00] may have some, Facebook lives on there. You guys can interact with each other. Well, you guys have probably been a part of other Facebook groups.

[00:04:09] Diana: And so I’m looking forward to getting to know you guys. I know some of you, but I really want to get to know you better and see how I can serve you more. but it’s definitely going to be a positive place. I’m not going to allow any kind of politics, negativity on the group, no self promotion of businesses, that’s not going to be allowed.

[00:04:34] Diana: Uh, you want to promote somebody, you promote somebody else, okay? this is going to be a, safe place to talk to each other. One caveat is we’re not going to give medical advice or legal advice. on the group. That’s a liability for us if we’re giving advice

[00:04:51] Diana: that only a lawyer should be giving or giving advice about medical stuff. That includes, essential oils and natural [00:05:00] stuff. So I’m going to be promoting that probably every week. So stay tuned for that. Please participate. In any way you can.

[00:05:10] Diana: So let’s move on to our guest for today. She is a friend of, Suzy Ryan . She was on the podcast before. They are our friends. And so she’s been recommended by Suzy. And so let me tell you a little bit about her.

[00:05:31] Diana: And what we’re going to talk about today, she’s coming on to promote a writing workshop for trauma survivors, for abuse survivors. It’s called the Transforming Trauma Workshop. It’s a monthly series of supported exercises in writing, art, and dance that will help us love ourselves and release past pain.

[00:05:53] Diana: As we reclaim our power.

[00:05:56] Diana: So let me read a little bit more here. [00:06:00] During the one hour workshop on the healing art of writing, you’ll learn fundamental skills you’ll need on the journey of telling your own story. We’ll talk about creating a sustainable life. Setting aside time for writing, shielding ourselves from reliving the trauma as we express it, and self care.

[00:06:23] Diana: When you go hiking, you make sure to have plenty of water, sunscreen, and good shoes. When you go writing, you make sure to have plenty of courage, support, and good tools. This workshop will give you the basics for beginning. including writing prompts and information on how to pace and protect yourself. All participants also will have the opportunity to schedule a one on one session with the facilitator about specific projects.

[00:06:58] Diana: So that facilitator [00:07:00] is Kaisa Kay, our guest today. She’s a poet and a playwright who facilitates the monthly series on transforming trauma. Her plays have been presented in five states. And, she’s on the literary maps of both Kansas and North Carolina. Kaisa has coached nine authors as they’ve completed their books.

[00:07:27] Diana: And she’s led support groups for non offending caregivers and survivors of abuse. And she says, I believe that we’re the experts on our own lives. and we can heal from hurtful experience through self expression. Keisa’s works include Uniquely Gifted, identifying and meeting the needs of the twice exceptional student, and she co edited High IQ Kids, which received the Legacy Award for the best book for [00:08:00] parents and teachers in its publication year.

[00:08:03] Diana: Her memoir is titled Tornado Alley. Oh, I really like that. And she’s written, What Every Grandparent Needs to Know About Childhood Sexual Abuse. Kaiza’s plays include, Thunder is the Mountain’s Voice, Love Makes a Home, and Sky Eyes. So, it sounds exciting, doesn’t it? I am totally stoked to hear about this workshop, because we don’t all heal the same way.

[00:08:36] Diana: There are many, many tools out there for healing abuse. and trauma, and this is one of them, and it sounds fantastic. I like to promote people like that, that give you options. So, without further delay, here is my guest, Keisa Kay.

[00:08:59] Diana: All [00:09:00] right. Please welcome my guest today, Keisa Kay. Thank you for coming on the show today.

[00:09:08] Keisa Kay: Oh, it’s wonderful to be here.

[00:09:10] Diana: I’m super excited. We’re going to talk about writing and how that helps, heal trauma in your background. And, I see that you’re, from Kansas.

[00:09:21] Keisa Kay: It’s a good, good place. A lot of tornadoes, especially in May,

[00:09:25] Diana: what was your background like growing up?

[00:09:29] Keisa Kay: Oh, I had some challenges growing up. I had some really strong challenges. I’m a survivor. And at the same time, I got to grow up by a beautiful lake, a really beautiful lake, and I would go and float in the lake.

[00:09:44] Keisa Kay: and really feel the presence of God. It did not matter what had happened. It did not matter what had happened to me. I could lay back in that lake and float and feel really cleansed. And I would look up at the sky and at night, as [00:10:00] often as I could, I’d sleep out underneath the stars. You know, if it wasn’t raining, snowing, whatever, but it really helped so much because I felt closer, closer to the Lord and closer to that source of strength.

[00:10:14] Diana: I love that. When did you meet the Lord?

[00:10:17] Keisa Kay: Well, it’s so funny because it’s always I don’t know how to even explain it, but I’ve always had this really strong feeling, really strong, and there’s never in my life been any doubt. And I, I, I think you know exactly what I’m talking about yourself, but I had a great grandmother, my great grandmother Stella.

[00:10:38] Keisa Kay: And she taught me the Lord’s Prayer, and she taught me the 23rd Psalm, and she would read the Book of Ruth to me, and all different ones. There were several grandchildren and great grandchildren she had helped in this way. And it was so strong in her, and her sharing was so profound, that it became a part of me.

[00:10:59] Keisa Kay: And no matter what [00:11:00] else happened in life, I’ve always been able to pray. I’ve always been able to pray my way through things and I also write and for me writing can be a form of prayer.

[00:11:12] Diana: Absolutely. How did you know that you had that gift of writing? Was it like gradual?

[00:11:21] Keisa Kay: Well when I was five years old In kindergarten, Mrs.

[00:11:28] Keisa Kay: Elrod gave all of us, at the end of the school year, she gave all of us, um, these little books, and she said, when you want, you can just go out under a tree and write some letters. And so, by golly, I did. And I found that if I wrote something down, I felt better. It just worked. You know, a lot of different things that happened.

[00:11:50] Keisa Kay: But if you’re writing, especially if you’re writing outside, You are in a, in a, in touch with your senses in a different way. [00:12:00] You’re processing your senses. You’re processing the world the Lord has made through your own heart and into your hand and onto the page. It’s a really different experience writing by hand.

[00:12:11] Keisa Kay: And then, in middle school, we changed, we moved away. My family moved away for four years and then we moved back. But when we moved away, I had a friend named Suzy. And she had been 7th star in the school play, and I had been 3rd star, and we got to be friends. And I will never forget what it felt like, riding behind her on her horse, as the horse leaped a ditch.

[00:12:38] Keisa Kay: Oh, it was like flying. You know what it’s like when you’re little or you’re a kid, you have a best friend. Well, I couldn’t stand being away from her. And so we started writing letters back and forth. And people don’t write, they don’t write letters anymore. The text. You know, our thoughts are much shorter now.

[00:12:58] Keisa Kay: So we wrote [00:13:00] letters back and forth about just the little things happening to us. And I remember I always started, hello, how are you? I’m fine.

[00:13:10] Keisa Kay: So, but in this way, we also kind of taught each other as children that there would be someone who would read what we wrote and, and it made all the difference.

[00:13:22] Diana: I remember I’m old enough to have had a pen pal, where at school they, they assigned us somebody. And it was somewhere in the United States where we’ve never been and, I still remember her name and we would write back and forth in physical letters and, yeah, that was really great memories.

[00:13:43] Diana: Yeah.

[00:13:44] Keisa Kay: And there’s a certain thrill when an envelope arrives for you and it has your name on it. You open it up and, and I still remember the look of her handwriting, you know. Which didn’t change that much over time, it’s still about the same.

[00:13:58] Keisa Kay: Yeah, that’s, that’s [00:14:00] super fun.

[00:14:01] Keisa Kay: , my sister she’s 9 hours ahead of me, but she’s always been really great about sending me physical cards instead of just an e card like I would do, I’d send her e cards cause I was lazy. She’d send, these beautiful cards and, she would put a little, something small like a sticker or something in there that would fit and she sends me stuff for my birthday and for Christmas every year.

[00:14:27] Keisa Kay: I really need to get less lazy.

[00:14:32] Keisa Kay: Well, what a sweetheart she is. I had a cottage for 10 years in a little French village called Montgallard.

[00:14:38] Diana: That’s right, I was reading about that. Tell us about that.

[00:14:42] Diana: Well, it was 40

[00:14:43] Keisa Kay: kilometers southwest of Toulouse. And it was just a little cottage with a beautiful garden and a little tiny swimming pool. I think they call them, what do they call them now? Not a lap pool, but it was small. Plunge pool, I guess that’s it. And it had all [00:15:00] handers. and butterfly bushes and all kinds of beautiful flowers everywhere.

[00:15:06] Keisa Kay: But I got to the point where I had to make a decision, you know, how was I going to live? And I couldn’t afford two lives.

[00:15:14] Keisa Kay: I read a lot and I brought some of my books, and I don’t know which ones you’d be most interested in, but I’ll show you this one. This is kind of the big one, the one I love best, and it’s called Tornado Alley, and it’s my memoir. And it relates to France because I couldn’t, I couldn’t write it. It was like I was having all this trouble.

[00:15:35] Keisa Kay: I’d written little bits and pieces. And I went over to my cottage, took all the bits and pieces, and I spent six weeks there just writing and rewriting. And in the day, I would get up, have a little something to eat, go somewhere, because you can’t just be in France and not go anywhere. And I’d come back home, and I would write, and I got this [00:16:00] thing done, and I’m like, yay!

[00:16:03] Keisa Kay: And every other chapter, like one chapter will be difficult childhood memories, and then the next chapter will be, um, something that happened in France. And it was an intentional sort of effort to lighten the mood. And to remind the reader that I did live through the things I lived through, that I made it.

[00:16:22] Keisa Kay: So that was, that was a big deal. That was a really big deal.

[00:16:26] Diana: I like the title. Is it like a double entendre ?

[00:16:29] Keisa Kay: Well, it’s, you know, they call it Kansas Tornado Alley, but you’re exactly right. When you’re going through struggles, sometimes it feels like you’re living through tornadoes. Yeah. Yeah, wow. I also have some less exciting things.

[00:16:43] Keisa Kay: This is HiIQ Kids. This is uniquely gifted identifying and meeting the needs of the twice exceptional student. It was my first published book so I put every word I knew in the title. That’s that’s really interesting and my sister was a gifted child and [00:17:00] She’d probably be interested in that. Yeah. Well, I, I have the, I have the strong opinion that everybody’s got something really spectacular within them and that we’re all called to our own work by God.

[00:17:13] Keisa Kay: And some of us have more mind work. Some of us have more heart work or soul work, but we all have our own special niche. I know.

[00:17:21] Diana: I think I was a late bloomer. I didn’t find out my gifts till I was an adult really. Primarily music, you know. That’s my gift.

[00:17:27] Keisa Kay: Definitely,

[00:17:29] Keisa Kay: definitely. I’m doing a special project now.

[00:17:35] Keisa Kay: It’s for a group called Survivor Space and their Division of Zero Abuse project. And it’s a once a month workshop called Transforming Trauma. And then each month is going to have a different special focus. So the first one’s Transforming Trauma, the Healing Art of Writing. And that’ll be the third Thursday of every month at 3 o’clock.

[00:17:57] Keisa Kay: And I did that on purpose. Because I have [00:18:00] trouble remembering, like, something that’s once a month, but third Thursday at three. 3THs That’s right so the first ones on the healing art of writing because that’s what I used to process my feelings and Process my life and you probably do much the same with your music Mm hmm I would imagine.

[00:18:24] Keisa Kay: That,

[00:18:25] Diana: workshop. Is that online?

[00:18:28] Keisa Kay: Yes, it’s online and it’s on, um, the Survivor Space website and you just go to that website and I’ll send it to you so you can put it as a link if you want to.

[00:18:39] Diana: Yes, I’ll put everything in the show notes. So what, what time zone is that?

[00:18:45] Keisa Kay: Oh, good question. That’s, uh, three o’clock is Eastern time.

[00:18:50] Keisa Kay: So I think in Pacific time that would be 12. Is that right? Then one o’clock if you’re in Colorado and two o’clock if you’re in [00:19:00] Kansas. Yeah. So everybody can participate. That’s right. That’s right. It’s completely free and the first one’s going to be really about You can just go to one or you can go to all of them, of course And and you get an anonymous chat So while I’m talking you can go ahead and be chatting or asking questions and you’ll get an anonymous So that you don’t have to worry about that piece of it, because a lot of people do when they’re, you know, covering tough territory.

[00:19:30] Keisa Kay: And, um, so I think it’s going to be really fun. I’m going to start with some thoughts about how we can protect ourselves. Because when we’re writing about difficult memories, sometimes we’ll hurt, we’ll remember that hurt, and then we’ll hurt in the present time. So there’s a lot of things that you can do to kind of protect yourself from that.

[00:19:50] Keisa Kay: It’s like putting on the armor of God or putting on your little, you know, I think of it as roses, a bunch of rose petals around [00:20:00] me. Everybody’s got something different and in this way you can go down and do that deep work. And also I’ll talk about the supports that you need and how to know when it’s time to stop and how to start if you feel blocked, those kinds of things.

[00:20:15] Keisa Kay: It is, difficult to tell your story for the first time.

[00:20:19] Diana: The small groups that I lead called Mending the Soul, a lot of those ladies, they’ve never told anybody their story. And it’s terrifying. And it sounds like this workshop is going to be perfect for people who don’t know what to say or how to express what they’ve gone through.

[00:20:40] Diana: Put that in words, it’s taken me years to be able to, go through my story without physical, reactions, like crying or my throat closing up or my stomach in knots. I’ve finally gotten past that part.

[00:20:55] Diana: I think of healing

[00:20:56] Keisa Kay: as more of a spiral staircase than a straight line. [00:21:00] Some days are hard and some days you can just do it and it changes, but you get farther and farther away from a certain kind of really deep, deep pain as you start to heal.

[00:21:13] Keisa Kay: And it becomes a surprise when you feel it instead of a daily journey. And there’s also something about deciding to let go of the denial and deciding to let go of the harsh protections that keep you from feeling anything. No. Once you start doing this work, other things open up. It’s like you get not just your memories written down, but you start accepting those memories as not defining you.

[00:21:45] Keisa Kay: Part of your past experience, but not something that defines you. who you are, what you can do, or who you can be.

[00:21:51] Diana: Yeah, one of the girls in my Mending the Soul group, she is a painter and she was never allowed to paint [00:22:00] when she was with her abuser. And when she, got out of that environment, she started painting and she shared with us her painting.

[00:22:07] Diana: Some of them were definitely a response to, her pain. Some of them were very dark and then others were very bright. And, she’s Found her niche, found her creative process to express what she’s gone through in her healing journey.

[00:22:27] Diana: Exactly. That’s wonderful.

[00:22:31] Keisa Kay: And painting, the thing about it is a lot of times we think we have to be good at something before we can start.

[00:22:37] Keisa Kay: Yeah, that was my next question. I mean, I’m, I’m learning to play the all time fiddle and I’m so bad that the dog will run and hide under the bed when I pick up my fiddle. I wish I were, and so, but I really want to play that fiddle because it makes me happy. It makes me feel good [00:23:00] inside. So I’m not ready to play out in front of people, but it’s such a pleasure for me.

[00:23:06] Keisa Kay: And that makes it good enough, you know? There’s this whole idea, there’s a poem, um, by Mary Oliver that says, You do not have to be good. And that’s really it. I mean, I love to paint, but you’re not going to find my paintings in any galleries. It’s, it’s a personal journey and it can work both ways.

[00:23:31] Keisa Kay: Sometimes you’ll write and you’ll shock yourself because it will be exactly what you needed to say. And what happens when you write is that you will surprise yourself when you, especially if you write by hand, your hand goes a little slower than your thoughts, a little slower than typing. Yes. Well, yeah, a lot slower.

[00:23:52] Keisa Kay: And so you’ll have a… A little bit more time to process the memories, the things that you’re writing about [00:24:00] and that healing will just start happening. It doesn’t have to happen here in your conscious mind. It’ll start happening here. I have problems here, you know, the idea that I’m speaking out mean that my throat closes up.

[00:24:17] Keisa Kay: You know what I mean? And so I’m not speaking it. I’m writing it. And so I can communicate in a whole different way. It’s, it’s transformative. It really is. Yeah. It sounds that way. And then you can, then you’ll have your story out. And if you want to share it with someone, you don’t have to say it all over again.

[00:24:42] Keisa Kay: Right? Which can be a challenge for some of us. I love the idea of painting too. One of the things I just heard about a couple of days ago was painting at night, going outside and painting at night. That just sounds so fun.

[00:24:57] Diana: Probably easier than painting in the [00:25:00] day, I guess. A little dark. Stars, the moon.

[00:25:07] Diana: Some people have regular times to

[00:25:09] Keisa Kay: do things. And some of us just don’t. We just can’t, you know. And one of my friends is a yoga teacher. And the way that she got herself to do yoga when she was starting out was to say just go sit 10 minutes on that mat. So every day she’d go sit 10 minutes on the mat and that counted and she won the star and all that.

[00:25:31] Keisa Kay: Well, I think that way about writing. Just spend 10 minutes writing. And what happens is you’ll spend that 10 minutes and you’ll think I don’t want to stop and pretty soon you’re writing a lot longer, but you don’t make yourself write like a couple of hours today. Just 10 minutes. It’s all, it’s like you give yourself permission.

[00:25:53] Diana: Like you said, that little egg timer. You can tell I’m old school. I remember egg timers. I [00:26:00] remember them actually from time out, but nevermind.

[00:26:08] Diana: That, helps a lot of things. Just like I’m trying to get back into exercise after some surgery and it’s hard to just to do an hour workout, but you know ten minutes Hey, you can do anything for ten minutes, right?

[00:26:22] Keisa Kay: That’s right. That’s exactly right. It’s a beginning and it’s enough so that you can get involved in it, too And sometimes it helps to read somebody else’s poem or read or listen to music That would probably be really good for you if you wrote to music.

[00:26:41] Keisa Kay: Yes, exactly. And the other thing that’s really important for me is This is the way a room smells. I write better in a room that smells like cinnamon. Really? That’s very interesting. And not the, [00:27:00] not fake cinnamon. I will actually go boil water and put cinnamon in it to get the smell in the house so that I can write more effectively.

[00:27:08] Keisa Kay: It just helps. I can’t even tell you with what.

[00:27:12] Diana: So Maybe we could pick our favorite scent?

[00:27:16] Keisa Kay: Uh huh. Uh huh. Something that’s comforting. And then when you’re writing something difficult… You’ve got that reminder, that scent reminder, that you’re not there right now, that you’re where you want to be, in a safe place, in a warm environment, and that you’re telling yourself your story.

[00:27:35] Keisa Kay: You’re not reliving your story. That’s so important.

[00:27:39] Diana: Oh, yeah. Very big deal to mention that because especially the first few times when you’re trying to get the story out. You are reliving those memories.

[00:27:51] Keisa Kay: Yes, exactly. And Emily Dickinson has this poem where she says, Tell all the truth, but tell it slant.

[00:27:58] Keisa Kay: So [00:28:00] sometimes just essayistically writing it, you know, it’s not gonna, it’s like too hard. And so I have this book, Sky Eyes, it’s a play. I write plays. And this is Thunders and Mountains Voice. I don’t know if you can see all these and Love Makes a Home. Yes, just hold them up longer. Okay. Hold them all up longer so the camera will focus on them.

[00:28:22] Keisa Kay: Okay, this is the first one. Well, actually, it’s Love Makes a Home. It’s the life of Rebecca Boone. And by Studying her life and her history, I was able to come to terms with my own tendency to move a lot from place to place. She always wanted a home and her husband would say to her, Oh honey, love makes a home, right?

[00:28:47] Keisa Kay: So that’s, that’s just part of it. And then And Thunders, that’s gone to, oh gosh, it’s gone to all different places. Cumberland Gap, National Historical Park, and it was a [00:29:00] convocation for Berea College. It’s done all kinds of things that play. And then this one is SkyEyes. And I wrote it for my mother. You know we all have issues with our parents if we’ve had trauma in our childhood.

[00:29:15] Keisa Kay: We just do, no matter how great they are, we have these issues. So I wrote this play, and I wrote it for her, and I created characters who are very closely aligned with the people that they represent. And, um, it’s going to be performed for the first time. In Hendersonville, North Carolina on September 9th as this free staged reading by the Hendersonville Theater.

[00:29:40] Keisa Kay: So I’m very thrilled about that. And a friend of mine, his name’s Brad Hodge, he wrote the, the music for it. Oh. And it’s just, oh, it’s, I’m just so excited. And then the last one that I have here is Thunder’s, the Mountain’s Voice. See, I like the cover. That’s very pretty. I [00:30:00] love that. And it is, um, it’s about Isabella Bird and her first adventure to Estes.

[00:30:07] Keisa Kay: I think it’s her only adventure to Estes Park. And it’s been chosen to celebrate the 150th anniversary of her visit to Estes Park. It’ll be done this November. But yeah, the cover’s beautiful. It’s by a man named Jim Osterberg. He’s a wonderful photographer. So, but each one of them helped me with something I was dealing with.

[00:30:32] Keisa Kay: You know, and, and helped me transform my own pain into something that I could share. And the first time that I did this play and the woman playing Rebecca Boone and the old time fiddler stood up and everybody’s clapping and standing up and then they gestured to me. It was a feeling like nothing I’ve ever [00:31:00] had before.

[00:31:01] Keisa Kay: It was a feeling of creation, like, ah, what God hath wrought, you know? So, uh, playwright, I think I, well, I sat down one day, I sat down for my 10 minutes and instead of writing an essay or something about myself, I found that I was writing in dialogue and it was like. the dialogue kept coming. I could, it wasn’t like hearing, it was like hearing a voice, it was like feeling it.

[00:31:41] Keisa Kay: And, you know, it was like the whole thing just kept coming. And with the two really historical ones, I did a lot of research to make sure that they were as historically accurate as they possibly could, because that was important to me.

[00:31:54] Diana: Oh yeah, I’m a huge history buff. I would, I really appreciate you doing that.[00:32:00] [00:32:01] Keisa Kay: Yeah. Yeah, that part makes it a little bit more fun, too.

[00:32:05] Diana: Yeah, you learn some things. Hey, I didn’t know that. Absolutely. Wow, this is exciting. What other, secret talents do you have?

[00:32:15] Keisa Kay: I really like you. I write poetry.

[00:32:18] Diana: Do you have a poem that you can read us?

[00:32:23] Diana: Well, let me see. I hadn’t planned on one, but I’ll pick one of the little kid poems.

[00:32:27] Diana: You want a little kid poem? Sure. It’s a real simple one. Let me see if I can find a real simple one.

[00:32:35] Diana: Which one? Which one? Or to pick a favorite, huh? I love them all. You know, it’s like, pick your favorite child, right? Yeah, or your babies. This one’s a little, this one’s actually, this is a trauma recovery poem, so it’ll fit. I think it’ll fit with the whole idea. Okay.

[00:32:55] Diana: Potter Lake, sweet golden sun, runs [00:33:00] gleefully across the icy ripples and the ridges.

[00:33:03] Diana: He touches the gray, soggy snow. Don’t eat this, Mama! His woolen mittens clap together with a gentle, soft pat. Where did the ducks go, Mama? South, says the woman in the blue flannel coat. Ducks can’t swim on ice. The pond ripples in tiny castle mountains as she guides him back from its edge. She hugs him close.

[00:33:28] Diana: Our heartbeats are a touchin mama! Frozen brown yellow grass crackles beneath our galoshes. They race to the biggest tree, so big, that when that little son stands on one side and the mama stands on the other, their arms around that tree don’t meet. Look, she whispers, and he does. See how these branches twist against each other?

[00:33:53] Diana: Long ago, maybe the wind put them there and they stayed that way, see? They run as [00:34:00] fast as they can around the tree laughing. They rub the bark with their cold noses and gasp deep breaths of icy clean air. Radiant light emerges from grey clouds. Looking into those blue eyes, the shade of his daddy’s eyes.

[00:34:16] Diana: She remembers shield him, shield him, shield him with her body as his daddy slapped her face. Mama, mama, he grins, hugging her hard. Mama, we’re living happily ever after.

[00:34:34] Diana: I can just picture everything that you were describing, the word pictures that you gave us. You can just see it in front of you, what’s going on.

[00:34:43] Keisa Kay: I like that one. Yeah, I do too. It makes, there’s something about it that makes me happy. But it also makes me miss those days when my children were little. You know, they grow up so fast and I miss them at every age. I love them at [00:35:00] their adult ages, but oh, I miss the two year old and the four year old and the 14 year old.

[00:35:06] Keisa Kay: I’d like to have them at every age they ever were in my house. I’d need a much, much larger house. You know what I mean, right? I don’t have children myself, but I definitely can imagine that. Uh, but you have grandchildren now, right? I have one grandson. Yeah, he’s a beautiful little boy.

[00:35:31] Keisa Kay: Just a year old. A year this month. A treasure. I have a son and a daughter and a grandson. And that’s one of the enormous, enormous gifts of my life is that, you know, the legacy of child abuse that was passed on to me through multiple generations of trauma didn’t get passed down the line. I think it’s the hugest victory of [00:36:00] all.

[00:36:01] Diana: Yeah. Amen to that. You broke the cycle.

[00:36:04] Keisa Kay: Yeah. And it didn’t break me. People talk about how we break the cycles and it’s It’s, it’s a hard go to be the generation that makes that change.

[00:36:17] Diana: Do you think it was mostly a God thing?

[00:36:21] Keisa Kay: I actually think that it was a combination, I’m so, what an interesting question.

[00:36:27] Keisa Kay: I think a lot of it has to do with the elements of resilience that I had in my life that weren’t available. You know, to my perpetrator. I think that, I had the idea that education really mattered and I had a strong abiding belief in God that was absolutely unshakable. And I had a lake where I could float and just let everything, you know, go away.

[00:36:55] Keisa Kay: And I also had a lot of really wonderful cousins. [00:37:00] and an extended family and this beautiful natural environment. And if we could give every child all those things, they’d have a little bit better chance. You know, I think that was a large part of it and, and God created it all. So there he is. It’s been tough for me to, to come to terms with the idea that God would allow such crimes against people, against children, especially.

[00:37:33] Keisa Kay: It’s a very tough thing. We each have to grapple with it in our own ways and come to our own explanations.

[00:37:39] Diana: Yeah. We’ve been talking a lot about that on the podcast. Why did God let this happen to me? And every group that I have, they all ask that question and I’m not going to sit here and pretend I know the answer because I don’t.

[00:37:56] Diana: I don’t have all the perfect answers. [00:38:00] I know this is an evil world. And that there’s free will and sin is so terrible because innocent people suffer because of it.

[00:38:08] Diana: God is still there with us to comfort us and to cry with us and be angry with us, rejoice with us.

[00:38:16] Keisa Kay: Amen. Amen. And you know, without God, I wouldn’t have made it without that. sturdy belief, you know, there was, uh, and, and I don’t understand how it all works. I, I don’t, I’m, I have this little tiny, tiny brain and the universe is huge.

[00:38:37] Keisa Kay: You look up at the stars. This is, this is so tiny. So I’m probably not going to understand it. And I have to go with what I feel in my heart. And knowing my soul. I love that your group is called Mending the Soul. How did you come up with that name?

[00:38:53] Diana: That is not of my making. The organization Mending the Soul is started by [00:39:00] a Christian trauma counselor and her husband is a ethics professor here in Phoenix, and they had some missionary families that Their children had been abused overseas and they came back home to the States and they were traumatized and there were no resources for this family because they couldn’t afford professional trauma counseling.

[00:39:23] Diana: And so her and her husband decided to create this organization where, okay, she created the curriculum and her husband contributed to that. And then they would train lay people. other survivors, how to facilitate these groups based on the curriculum that the trauma counselor wrote. And it is all over the world.

[00:39:48] Diana: Facilitators everywhere on every continent and. They take teams over to places like Congo and Kenya and, with trauma with a capital T. [00:40:00] Yes. And they train the leaders of those communities to hold their groups and to, um, change their communities. And you can see a visible difference because over there, they don’t have healthcare.

[00:40:13] Diana: They don’t have medical care. They don’t have doctors. They don’t have mental health at all. Um, they don’t have trauma care. It’s just been a pleasure to be part of this organization. I joined my current church who has, facilitators. And the pastor’s wife said, would you like to join the group?

[00:40:33] Diana: Because I wanted to start some sort of a Bible study for survivors and previous churches wouldn’t even let me. And pastor’s wife said, we’ve got this Mending the Soul group and you’re just going to love it. So I went through as a participant, 16 weeks long and it’s free, just like your, trauma writing class.

[00:40:56] Diana: I was so impressed with it that I trained to be a facilitator myself. [00:41:00] So I’ve been doing this, I think going on six years. Wonderful. It’s changed, changed my life. I’ve seen the change in people’s lives and it’s the Lord of course, that it’s changing, but mm-hmm. yeah, that’s, probably a longer answer than you.

[00:41:14] Keisa Kay: Oh no, that’s good. I like a complete answer. I think that’s valuable.

[00:41:21] Diana: Yeah, I think it’s a perfect, perfect name. I’ve met, the founders many times. They’ve been on the podcast before, twice. Steven Tracy and Celestia Tracy. So, anyway, we’ve talked about a lot of things today.

[00:41:38] Diana: Is there anything else that we didn’t talk about that you wanted to cover?

[00:41:42] Keisa Kay: Well, I’ve really, I really want to cover writing children’s books I’ve written to, and the reason that the reason I want to cover it here is because when you write a children’s book, you can go into. Communicating in the way that you [00:42:00] wish someone had communicated with your own child when you were little.

[00:42:05] Keisa Kay: And this book I love. I wrote this book. It’s called The Warming Stone.

[00:42:12] Keisa Kay: And it’s in English and Spanish, because the little girl who did the pictures for me, her name is Dania, she speaks Spanish as her first language. And she just did the most beautiful, beautiful work. And it’s about, it’s about,

[00:42:28] Keisa Kay: It’s about carrying love in your own heart for yourself. And so, the warming stone is the stone that warms your heart. I’d read it all to you if you wanted, but it might take a little bit too long in our group. Yeah, they might be a little long. How many pages is it? Oh, it’s pretty long. You know what? I think I should actually put it online at some point.

[00:42:51] Keisa Kay: But you would like it. I’ll send you one if you want. And then the other one is this one. It’s Princess Galani. Mmm. [00:43:00] I had, it’s for an older, older children, but I didn’t write this. Um, my class wrote this. I taught a group of children called the Forest Children. And my best friend at the time, she was my heart buddy, Robin, had just passed away.

[00:43:19] Keisa Kay: And right before she died of cancer, she gave me all of the notes she’d written for this book, Princess Kalani. And she had all these notes and scraps and fragments of things and, Oh, I didn’t know what to do and I couldn’t do anything with it. I literally could not do anything with it. And then I went to this class I was teaching them, and we came up with a project, and I gave each one of them one of the fragments of the story, and they built the rest of it.

[00:43:55] Keisa Kay: And so they wrote the story. I didn’t write a thing. It’s by Robin and the [00:44:00] Forest Children. And I, it just meant so, so much to me to have it done. And also to know that anybody could take fragments of something and create something beautiful out of it. So it’s a little bit of our legacy. That’s precious.

[00:44:18] Keisa Kay: Yeah. And you know, we, it’s, it’s almost like an, I, I don’t know how to even say it. We all know people who’ve been abused and we all have lost someone who was very important to us to death. And we all have reasons to heal all of us. I don’t know anybody, even the part that seems scary when we talk about child abuse.

[00:44:43] Keisa Kay: I’ve actually never spoken to anyone who did not have someone in their life who was very important to them, if it wasn’t themselves, who’d been affected pretty profoundly by this. So it is kind of a pandemic, you know. But [00:45:00] there was something about writing this children’s book that healed me from the loss of Robin in a way that I didn’t think I ever would be.

[00:45:09] Keisa Kay: When this children’s book… It’s just a heart warmer.

[00:45:12] Diana: You know, we need more children’s books like the ones you’re writing. Because, not all the children’s books out there are really profitable or well, not heartwarming in the right way, but, you know what I’m saying? There’s some, uh, children’s material aren’t, aren’t really appropriate.

[00:45:35] Keisa Kay: Well, the problem, I think, is that children are exposed to so much ugliness. Yes, you know if they’re even just I mean, I’ll pick up my phone and heaven knows what’ll be on it when I pick it up You know, if you did you hit that Google button you could get any kind of a story just right there And then it’s in your house with you.

[00:45:53] Keisa Kay: It’s in your home with you, you know And that’s happening children before they have the ability to process [00:46:00] I was talking to a little girl who said she was scared to go to school. She was scared there’d be a school shooting and they were doing the drills in her school. And she was afraid and I said, you know, the likelihood is not great.

[00:46:17] Keisa Kay: Just like we used to do tornado drills when I was little. We never had a tornado. It was just being ready. It’s not, but she was terrified. And I thought, what would it be like to be afraid of something that horrendous at that age to know that as your part of your story of the world? And so for me, I’m a storyteller and I try to tell stories of healing and hope that’ll counterbalance the total inundation that we have with other stories.

[00:46:46] Keisa Kay: Something to balance it out.

[00:46:48] Diana: Yeah, I’m a big proponent of not giving kids electronic gadgets. In the beginning, I know probably not very popular saying that, [00:47:00] but my parents read to me when I was a child and. I love to read. I still do. I don’t have as much time to read, but I think that love of reading as a child really expanded my mind.

[00:47:13] Diana: We didn’t have the internet growing up, so, um, that was where I would escape is into a good book, you know. I wouldn’t say I’m for book banning. I don’t really agree with that a hundred percent, but they need more children’s books that are positive about, children and who they are. They’re precious.

[00:47:35] Keisa Kay: And showing people loving each other, being kind instead of being good, helping each other grow. I really, really want to be a force for good in all of that.

[00:47:45] Diana: Yes, we need more of that because as you say there’s a lot of really negative stuff out there and these kids Read that off the internet or even some not so great books.

[00:47:58] Keisa Kay: And it’s amazing [00:48:00] children’s books can help grown ups, too There’s a very simple book by Orly Wachter called I think that was her name called.

[00:48:07] Keisa Kay: It’s my body. It’s very simple. Mi cuerpo es mio. And reading that little tiny children’s book to my children helped me come to terms with the idea that I could have physical boundaries too. So sometimes a children’s book will help all of us. I had a very, very good friend who’d done… A heap ton of healing books and one of the things that she did on purpose was she’d take a down day She’d wear her pajamas.

[00:48:35] Keisa Kay: She’d get lots of treats all around her and she’d read children’s books all day And that was her healing Doesn’t that sound like fun?

[00:48:46] Diana: That does sound like fun And yeah, I wish I had that book. Mi Cuerpo es Mio Yeah, good book for everybody I think Orly Wachter wrote No More Secrets For Me. I think that was by someone named Laurie [00:49:00] Freeman.

[00:49:01] Diana: Yeah, I’m not sure, but I think that’s right. Let’s see if we can find that and put that in the show notes, but, some of the, people that I work with in my groups, they were not raised with good touch, bad touch. They had no concept of that. They didn’t know what their body parts were called.

[00:49:21] Diana: They were never taught any of that, by anybody. And so they weren’t able to recognize, that somebody was passing their boundaries they should not have passed. And it’s heartbreaking. It really is. I don’t want to leave on a sour note here.

[00:49:38] Keisa Kay: Oh, it sort of relates. I was very powerful in making sure that my children knew their boundaries and such, but it got a little carried away.

[00:49:48] Keisa Kay: My son was, you know, doing one of those things three year olds do. He was grabbing for a candy bar in the grocery store and I grabbed his hand and he screams, don’t touch me. I don’t like it. It’s [00:50:00] my body. And I thought, Oh, what have I done? Well.

[00:50:06] Keisa Kay: At least it wasn’t a stranger’s hand, right? That’s right, because I was trying to get him, no, you can’t have that. So, I mean, it was something he learned very early and my daughter the same. And I think that that’s what we can do. We can give our children or the children within ourselves, those things that were taken from us or never given to us that we so deeply needed and had to figure out for ourselves.

[00:50:35] Keisa Kay: It’s a powerful thing, healing. It’s a powerful thing. It affects everybody who comes into your path.

[00:50:42] Diana: I mean, just, just meeting you and Susie, that’s… Just bright, bright in my day.

[00:50:50] Keisa Kay: Suzy’s a force of nature. I like her book. You’ll read it if you haven’t already. It’s called Saving Summer.

[00:50:56] Diana: She’s sending it to me. It’s really good. [00:51:00] Yes, she’s sending it to me. So that’s the same Suzy you grew up with?

[00:51:04] Diana: That’s my Suzy. That’s right. I thought so. I hope that’s my Suzy. And in SkyEyes, I named one of the characters after her.

[00:51:15] Diana: Uh, does she know that? Yeah. Alright. Well, this has been such a delightful conversation.

[00:51:24] Diana: It’s just like sitting here having tea with you. I have some tea. I could talk to you all night long. I mean it. You’re wonderful. This has been so much fun. So I know you went over the details of of your class. I’m going to go over those real quick again so they can sign up.

[00:51:45] Keisa Kay: Yes, I hope everyone will. And this is the good thing.

[00:51:49] Keisa Kay: You don’t have to sign up, you just have to show up. It’s the third Thursday of every month starting September 21. It’s called Transforming Trauma. [00:52:00] And the first one’s transforming trauma, the healing art of writing, and you go to the Survivors Space website and put in transforming trauma, and there it is.

[00:52:11] Keisa Kay: And I’ll send you the exact link so you can put it in your notes.

[00:52:15] Diana: Definitely. Thank you again so much. It’s been such a blessing and you’re always welcome to come back on the show anytime.

[00:52:25] Keisa Kay: You know, I’d be here every night. This is a lot of fun. Thank you so much.

[00:52:33] Thank you for listening to the Wounds of the Faithful podcast. If this episode has been helpful to you, please hit the subscribe button and tell a friend. You can connect with us at DSW Ministries. org where you’ll find our blog along with our Facebook, Twitter, and our YouTube channel links. Hope to see you next week![00:53:00]