In the Context of Love:
A Journey of Self-Discovery and Strength
The second darkest moment in my writing career was when I reached that awful juncture with my then-agent: she asked me if I had anything else to show her because my first novel didn’t sell. Editors had overwhelmingly praised it, but they wanted the next bestseller, not a solid mid-list novel. It was a crushing disappointment. Because I’m a writer, though, I started work on something new, but let me tell you it’s tough to write when you’re not sure the story will ever see the light of day.
Shortly after, the very darkest moment happened: In 2011, my eldest child at age 32 lost his fight against depression and took his own life. I can’t tell you how painful this was, not only to me as a mother but to our entire family. My dreams of publication, my writing goals, everything I’d once aspired to now seemed unimportant. I didn’t even feel I had the right to have goals.
The first year after his death was incredibly hard; the second year just seemed cruel. Derek had often called me in the afternoon when I was writing to talk to me about philosophy, mythology, Egyptology, Jim Morrison, travel, whatever. I found it impossible to sit at the computer, knowing the phone would never ring with his call again.
I shut my computer down. I let it all go. I had to trust the desire to write would return when I was ready. If not, well, that was okay, too. My husband and I adopted an adorable one-year old Welsh Pembroke corgi that needed some serious retraining, so I funneled what little focus I had into working with her. She was good for me. Clementine didn’t care if I cried when we went on walks. She became my therapy dog.
There were times I wondered if I would ever write again. After two years, I decided it was time to find out. Knowing Derek had been proud of my prior writing accomplishments convinced me it was okay to have dreams again. My heart wasn’t in writing anything new, though— I didn’t want to give up on that first novel, In the Context of Love. It is a story of one women’s personal journey of strength, redemption and empowerment after breaking the silence of shame. In a way, her story became symbolic to me. I was determined to get it published.
I worked with an author/editor on the manuscript, and soon that wonderful enthusiasm for writing returned. In the Context of Love evolved into a much more powerful story. Excited, I sent the manuscript to a handful of small presses on my own. Shortly after Buddhapuss Ink LLC offered me a contract to publish it.
Life is a constantly evolving journey of self-discovery. I don’t know if there’s ever an end to the journey when you lose someone to suicide because you have to find your way every single day. Living with loss becomes part of who you are, yet we can’t let tragedy define us. We have to let it go. “The heart is imprisoned not by being broken, but by being silenced.” ~ Martha Beck.
Thank you for listening.
Linda K. Sienkiewicz attributes her creative drive to her artistic mother, who let her paint murals on her bedroom wall, and her father, who let her monkey around with the gadgets in his workshop. She is well published in fiction and poetry, has a poetry chapbook award, a Pushcart Prize nomination, and a Masters of Fine Art in Fiction. Her debut novel, In the Context of Love, was inspired by the real life stories from a Glamour magazine article titled “My Father Was a Rapist.”
“Sienkiewicz’s powerful and richly detailed debut novel is at once a love story, a cautionary tale, and an inspirational journey. In the Context of Love should be required reading for all wayward teenage girls—and their mothers, too.” ~ Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of critically acclaimed Mothers, Tell Your Daughters.
In the Context of Love on Amazon