Love & Loss
creative therapeutic writing on relationships
extracts from the book
In a remote area in the south of Morocco, I felt my heart had come home as I discovered the desert. For a week I stayed in a rhiyad (guest house), reached along ancient tracks into the desert, and near a huddle of Berber dwellings. I was given one room in the corner of a spacious rectangular walled compound where I could write, make tea and sleep. In the sandy soil young trees of fig, orange, eucalyptus and almond had been planted to provide shade and shelter.
(Raw Heart, Chapter 3. p.50)
And here I reflected and wrote . . . pieces that eventually found their way into this book.
Karsch my Berber guide led me on a camel called Abu deep into the desert to the sand dunes. The March weather here is warm. I write this sitting on a wooden stool with a roughly woven seat, waiting for the kettle to boil. I am surrounded by a mud and straw brick wall built in the typical Moroccan pattern with squares and triangles and little turrets on the top. It must be about seven foot high. A black hen struts into my courtyard and then out again.
(Dream Snatcher, Chapter 1. P.12)
This book on exploring love and loss in the context of therapeutic writing invites the reader to consider love, not just as an emotion, but as something existing in its own right, as an energy force ebbing and flowing through me, and flowing between me and others. What is immediately apparent in reading this work is the accessible and honest telling, from an experiential base. And the invitation for the reader is to write and in this way cultivate personal wisdom.
Writing is not just seen as an activity, but as an archetypal character – a cartographer that allows us to learn and draw our own map for good living. This book, inspired in part by Jungian and principles from other psychological traditions, is written by an experienced therapeutic writing teacher, a human being intent on being awake and open, who inspires others to live more meaningfully and to dare touch their own yearning.
In a humorous way Monica asks, why should I invade my own privacy by writing this book? And the response is clear: our own vulnerability, written down, but then also edited with care becomes a gift for others who all share the human experience of love, loss, and the precious insights that articulating lived experience brings.
The exercises are fun, clever, and entertaining. This book, if used to reflect and do one’s own writing, will certainly bring personal insight and support the cultivation of self-trust — which is exactly what is needed to trust love.
Dr Reinekke Lengelle,
Visiting professor of Writing for Personal Development:
Universities of Alberta, Athabasca, The Hague
Direct, honest and emotionally sensitive Love & Loss is a candid exploration. Monica Suswin finds an intimate voice for the therapeutic exploration of her experience and engagement with writing. Love & Loss is also alive with creative ideas for writers and workshop leaders of all kinds.
Dr Lisa Dart, writer
This is a brave, highly personal testimony, but it will be a rare reader who does not encounter here a reflection of some dimensions of their own experience and – critically – a toolkit that might just unlock a deeper understanding of what makes us who we are.
Jeremy Page, editor: The Frogmore Papers
Love & Loss is written with huge compassion and a brave authenticity and openness to human vulnerability. Thank you Monica, for your wonderful guidance in drawing us along with you to feel safe enough and vulnerable enough to explore and express for ourselves. I look forward to using the many writing suggestions. I love the cover that draws us in with its shades of pink and the fragile, resilient, enticing butterfly.
Monica writes with careful awareness and consideration of the reader; there is a deep sense of her wish to share and have her experiences shared; to meet others where human experience connect. Brevity, pace, clarity, candidness, warmth come to mind. The balance between the personal, with engaging heart-warming stories, the explanation of theory (Jung, Freud etc); the exposition and interpretation is wonderfully accessible. Thus a depth of connection happens with oneself and with the author.
This is a book that works toward alchemy – prompting the discovery in many wisely chosen ways of the diamond hidden within. This book is a treasure.
Director: International Association for Voice Movement Therapy