A Few Words on Silver Linings

Dear Spire Readers,

A friend recently reminded me I am more than a trauma writer. I began writing about my trauma and the path through it with a simple goal: to help one person. Judging by the number of personal responses I have received over the last few months (as well as their content), that goal has been met many times over. I honestly could not be more grateful for these connections. I am in awe of the people who come here to read because you have indelible courage. I am honored to meet you.

But my friend is correct. I am more than a trauma writer. For a minute there, I let that become my only writerly definition. It happened because I was going through a series of traumas of the body. I got mired. I stopped looking for the silver lining and writing in reflection of that beauty. I saw only darkness.

But I am unstuck. All it took was a little jostle. A few words to say that I can write about trauma sometimes and sometimes write about other topics. And I was blown over by the sudden remembrance that I write FICTION. Oh my goodness, I LOVE writing Fiction. And I have this entire novella saved in a document called “The Docks” that I wanted to revise and re-post as a web-serial on this blog before all that body trauma. I am thrilled that is happening again!

And so the stories flow. The muse has inundated me with projects. My FaceBook feed is less desperate. My Twitter feed is more jovial. My Spotify playlist has more hip hop. I have a course lined up which I am deeply excited about teaching–something to look forward to in the darkness of Winter. My crochet projects are queued, my meals are plotted, and the way looks clear.

I am not just a trauma writer, but I will continue to write about trauma. But I will make it a point to save space here for other topics. This is a promise for me.

More than that, it’s really a lesson for all of us. No one is defined by one aspect, one event, one moment. We are multi-layered, complicated creatures. Perhaps an event has a deep and prolonged impact on your life. It is not all of your life. It is not even now, as another friend reminded me. It just is.

A lot of my work is choosing to find a silver lining in what is otherwise bleak. From that vantage point, I can witness my own transformation. What brought me to the good of now? Who do I choose to be knowing this about myself?

As always, friends, keep in touch and keep moving forward. And if you want to send me any dreams you’ve had, I’d be happy to interpret them here as if I’d written them. shawna.ainslie@gmail.com

More soon,


Shawna Ayoub

Shawna Ayoub is an essayist, fiction writer, poet and instructor with an MFA in creative writing from Indiana University. Some of her work has been published in The Manifest-Station, Role Reboot, [wherever], The Huffington Post, The Oxford Review and Exit 7. Her writing explores the intersections of race, place and survivorship. She writes with honesty about her own experience in order to transform pain.

4 Discussion to this post

  1. fyrdraca says:

    I found a calico cat under my car today, skinny, pathetic and sweet. I bribed her with a bear claw and brought her home and named her Serendipity. And so the healing continues… I love you so much I could cry-OK, I am crying, but just a little bit! Keep writing on what ever strikes your fancy! It is all amazing because it is a piece of you 😀

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  2. Rachel says:

    There are truly no words for how much I love your posts! It really is funny how sometimes a little jostle is all we need to realize we’re more than just one event.

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