A Collection of Truths Not Often Told
Edited by Carolyn Riker & BethAnne Kapansky Wright
Publication Date: September 19, 2017
Paperback | 265 pages | 6″ x 9″
Ebook format: Print Replica
Anthology | Poetry | Psychology
Hidden Lights is an anthology and a collaboration of over 50 experienced and novice writers sharing their stories and poems from around the globe.
The poignancy of each contribution covers the depths and widths of human experiences often kept secret. The words in this book are real, raging and riveting. Readers will be captivated by the poetry and essays which plunge to the taproot of soul and the psychology of Truths Not Often Told.
Each chapter details the bittersweet of humanity and crosses over stereotypes of gender, racial decree, suicide, justice, depression, grief and wrapping an inclusiveness in the cusp of being seen and heard.
Watch the Book Trailer!
About the Editors
Carolyn (Riker) Avalani, M.A., LMHC is originally from the East Coast and transplanted to the Pacific Northwest in 1996. Carolyn has a private counseling practice and is also an educator and writing coach. She’s an advocate for justice and spokesperson against racism and sexism. She’s written for numerous journals and anthologies. Carolyn is a poet, a lover of music, nature and the author of Blue Clouds: A Collection of Soul’s Creative Intelligence. Her second book of poems, quotes, prose, and tidbits of wisdom is evolving under the supervision of her house lion, Copper. It is a pleasure and honor to collaborate with BethAnne, as co-editor and contributor of Hidden Lights, where voices and stories need to be shared and heard. Visit the facebook page.
BethAnne Kapansky Wright, Psy.D., LP is a Clinical Psychologist who recently closed her private practice in Anchorage, Alaska to move to the island of Kauai, where she is planning on continuing to run a small practice and expand into new creative and spiritual opportunities. She specializes in life transitions, trauma, grief work, spirituality, and finding healing in our relationships, especially our relationship with our self. BethAnne is an artist and illustrator and the author of several books including Lamentations of the Sea: 111 Passages on Love, Loss and Letting Go and Heliotrope Nights: Starlight for the Mind and Soul. She is exceedingly grateful and happy to have combined forces with Carolyn and to have had the opportunity to be a co-editor of the Hidden Lights anthology project. Visit Island Songs and Little Blonde Girl Designs.
Q & A with Carolyn Riker & BethAnne Kapansky Wright
What inspired Hidden Lights?
Carolyn: Hidden Lights unfolded as a protest to the intensity and shunning of marginalized voices, especially highlighted during and after the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. This impetus led me to follow my creativity and an idea to offer a platform to counterbalance the intensity of such deeply felt oppression. By the end of November 2016, I announced an anthology to include people’s stories, photography, artwork, poetry, and prose. I also wanted to have a live dance performance putting those words into movement. Consequently, the inspiration poured in and here we have this heroic book, Hidden Lights, filled with the voices of truly, authentic and talented people.
BethAnne: After the election in 2016, like so many of us, I felt discouraged and disheartened. I was struck by a sense that as a woman, the world now felt less safe. I also had clients, with a rich diversity of backgrounds, expressing similar sentiments; about 90% of my sessions the week after the election were spent processing the election results and the deep wellspring of emotion, trauma, and fear the results triggered. So many of us were feeling the same kinds of things, in our own ways, and the anthology sprang out of that as a desire to give a forum to our voices, and to help women and children in need by donating a portion of the proceeds the National Women’s Coalition Against Violence and Exploitation.
When did you realize you wanted to collaborate in this anthology?
Carolyn: A few months into our respected projects, BethAnne and I came across each other’s anthologies. After numerous email exchanges, we realized we had similar pursuits and dreams. Namely to uplift and combine voices wanting to express their deepest truths. Our collaboration was a splash of mystical, plenty of compassion, and realizing: the magnitude of this book is sacred.
BethAnne: Carolyn and I started our anthology projects right around the same time. The more we talked the more we realized our hearts were hurting over the same issues; we both had a desire to create something that inspired, unmasked, and unveiled voices that are often silenced; and we both had similar visions. At some point back in February, we started to have a conversation about combining projects, and it felt like a natural evolution of the project, as well as a delightful friendship and working relationship which I have been truly blessed to have in my life.
How did you come to the selection of poems, essays, and art for this project?
Carolyn: From the beginning, this project had an organic blossoming energy opened to all. The submissions innately connected with those who had something intimate, vulnerable and transparent to share. Each piece complements the next with a poignant and powerful underlying cohesive spirit. We held and respected this essence as we selected and edited, arranged and filled the chapters.
BethAnne: We didn’t want to limit the topics, so we opened the floor for all kinds of submissions trusting that whatever needed to come forth would. The whole point of this book is the message that “Your voice matters. All voices are needed.” So we kept everything we thought we could work into the anthology and then looked for the common themes to tie it all together.
The submissions innately connected with those who had something intimate, vulnerable and transparent to share.
The whole point of this book is the message that “Your voice matters. All voices are needed.”
What can you tell us about the raw and personal stories in this powerful anthology?
Carolyn: I feel honored, humbled, learned, tender, transformed and grateful. The profoundly rich mosaic represented in Hidden Lights shows such colorful and intertwining raw threads and exposes what is often hidden. By sharing these personal stories, we are amplifying a concerted unity so others can read, feel and hear it too.
BethAnne: When I read many of these stories, I am astounded at the amount of courage and honesty that resides in them. There is tremendous value in sharing our truth and having that truth be held, witnessed, and respected. We all need to feel heard and seen in order to heal ourselves, honor our stories, and grow. The stories in this anthology are fiercely brave and intensely vulnerable in the depth of human experience they cover. When we stay silent nothing changes, and I believe, our contributors answered the question of silence with a resounding, NO. I will not be silenced. My story deserves to be told.
The profoundly rich mosaic represented in Hidden Lights shows such colorful and intertwining raw threads and exposes what is often hidden. By sharing these personal stories, we are amplifying a concerted unity so others can read, feel and hear it too.
When we stay silent nothing changes, and I believe, our contributors answered the question of silence with a resounding, “NO. I will not be silenced. My story deserves to be told.”
Is writing therapeutic?
Carolyn: When writing comes from the source of one’s soul, it is by default therapeutic. Every word, when laced with fervent authenticity, is an expression of art. Writing is equivalent to love.
BethAnne: Absolutely! In all its forms. Writing helps us unveil, organize, and make sense of our innermost truths. It helps us shift perspective, process, and perceive the deeper river of soul running in all of us. I would be completely lost without it.
Every word, when laced with fervent authenticity, is an expression of art. Writing is equivalent to love.
Writing helps us unveil, organize, and make sense of our innermost truths. It helps us shift perspective, process, and perceive the deeper river of soul running in all of us.
Since this book deals with heavy subjects, how do you maintain a positive outlook in these troubling times?
Carolyn: Sometimes we have to lean on each other especially during troubling times. As well as learn to take breaks and foster self-care. Heavy subjects need to be witnessed otherwise we negate being vulnerable and real. Obviously, life isn’t always rosy. However, when we genuinely respect someone’s difficult story, something magical and counterintuitive happens – we feel loved and accepted with all of our glorious, messy and imperfect pieces. To me, this is the spirit of a positive outlook.
BethAnne: I have to believe there is always hope. Always. I have seen this truth play out over and over again in my work as a psychologist where I’ve had the privilege to witness so many healing journeys and the remarkable resilience of the human spirit. To me, it’s less about maintaining a positive outlook and more about trying to find lessons and transformative gifts that can come from a dark space.
What are your thoughts on the future of our country?
Carolyn: I believe we are in a marathon and there’s no quick fix to eradicate the embedded white supremacy which is the aorta, or main artery feeding racism. Then there’s sexism, homophobia, misogyny, xenophobia and all the other ‘isms’ that segregate, stereotype and eliminate the precious intelligence of people and diversity. Fear, hatred and white superiority have murdered anyone who is different. This is all embroiled within our country’s seams and even Nature is also screaming. My heart hurts heavy and I worry and I cry when I tap into these atrocious injustices. I also won’t standby or bypass any political or spiritual platform, which demonstrates blaming, banning, ignoring and silencing those marginalized. We are witnessing, once again, that patriarchy is profoundly corrosive and is aimed at hurting just about everyone except for a bubble of elite. I want to pop that bubble. And so I will do what I can to speak out and foster community and appreciate people for their gifts and respect and support the voices most marginalized. I believe, however small my actions are, this will assist in a better future for our country and the democracy that she intended for us all.
BethAnne: We have a lot of work to do. A great light has been shone into the darkness this past year, exposing the fault lines and fractures that already resided in the heart of our country, but were not seen at the level of which they are now seen. I believe we as a country have not dealt with our own shadow history, and when you do not deal with your own darkness, it will find a way to come out. A lot of darkness has come out this year, and we have been given a unique opportunity to honestly face it, acknowledge it, and learn to bring healing to those places. Ultimately I believe there are more people invested in truth and healing and liberty for all, than not. But we can’t afford to go back to sleep, or get comfortable, or be lazy- each of us, however and whatever we feel called to do- must keep showing up, keep loving, and keep trying to affect change in ourselves, in our communities, in our country, and in our world.
What are you working on next?
Carolyn: I’m currently working on several projects: a new journal writing program coming out this October. Compiling a new selection of my poetry and prose, which is about nature and dreams currently titled: “Indigo Leaves” as well as a personal collection on justice, love, and soul currently titled: “Sugar Brown Blues.” Next summer, I would love to see Hidden Lights turn into an expression of dance, poetry readings, and music.
BethAnne: I’m still shape-shifting and sinking into my new life in Kauai, so right now listening to the ocean, talking to the trees, and learning to be a mermaid are at the top of my to-do list. As far as writing goes, I recently started a new Facebook page called “Island Songs” where I am hoping to share healing words and images inspired by Kauai and the Aloha spirit of the islands. I also have another book of poetry in motion, with a working title of “Between Breaths.” Last, I am working on a sequel to “Lamentations of The Sea,” titled “Revelations of The Light,” which should be out in the fall of 2018.