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HEALING WITH WORDS

A WRITER’S CANCER JOURNEY

“Diana is a woman who knows what it is to live fully in the face of mortality. She will add value to the life of every person who reads this book. That she includes the creative impulse to write and the solace offered by contemplating the beautiful as a vital part of human existence resonates at a spiritual level for me.

~ Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab’s Wife and Abundance, a Novel of Marie Antoinette

“One woman’s story, beautifully told and inspiring to those for whom journaling will ease a breast cancer diagnosis.”

~ Barbara Delinsky, New York Times bestselling author of Uplift: Secrets From the Sisterhood of Breast Cancer Survivors

“Diana Raab’s compelling and inspirational book is a must-read for any woman diagnosed with breast cancer. She expertly tells her story and captures the reader with her feelings, frustrations and fears that overwhelm.“

~ Julie Davey, author of Writing for Wellness: A Prescription for Healing

“Diana Raab has shared her breast cancer journey with an honesty that is truly compelling . . . a book to turn to time and time again for comfort and guidance. I highly recommend it!”

~ Beverlye Hyman Fead, Legislative Ambassador and Hero for Hope for The American Cancer Society and author of I Can Do This

“Healing With Words is a riveting memoir which follows the author’s journey through two cancer discoveries in eight years. The book’s structure allows the reader to find her own words to write beside Diana’s enlightening story which enlists it as a personal journal. Her poetic flavor of writing stretched my writer’s mind and urged me to post my own note to my computer screen which was gleaned from this book: “When it hurts–write harder.”

~ Barbara Sinor, Ph.D.

“Expression is a powerful healing tool. . . this book is a reflection of Diana M. Raab as she faced down two cancers and through her writing, found her power to keep her spirit up and keep up the fight. Through her own determination, she hopes to inspire others to rise up and embrace the same, and gives many important tips, such as the invaluable aspect of early detection. It is a poignant and powerful piece, very highly recommended.”

~Midwest Book Review

“Diana Raab is an exceptional writer. The narrative itself is slim, personal, and accessible, written in a very expository style. She catalogs the various steps in her journey – mammogram, diagnosis, needle biopsy, surgical biopsy, surgery, recovery. This the book will be most useful for fellow women diagnosed with DCIS. While the writing is always clear, it is in her poetry that Raab seeks to explore the deeper ramifications and interpretations of her cancer experience.”

~ Dennis Pyritz, Being Cancer Network

“As a cancer survivor, this book touched parts of my soul I thought I’d forgotten about. Ms. Raab did a phenomenal job at writing a memoir while including the reader in her journey. Beautiful job and beautiful words. Thank you, Ms. Raab–you’ll help many.”

~ Chynna T. Laird author of Lily Wolf Words

“This is a thoughtful book that will touch the hearts of women and those who love us.”

~ Theresa Fraser, MA

“This book is a Godsend for women diagnosed as having breast cancer. Diana Raab is a brave lady, who has fought cancer twice and won . . . The book promotes “writing” as a wellbeing therapy or writing to assist healing . . . informative, inspirational, uplifting. Two words sum up this book; survival and courage. The book emphasizes the importance of early breast cancer detection . . . I began to appreciate just how breast cancer produces a roller coaster of emotions . . . I can see how therapeutic writing could help. This is a good book with a positive self help message.

~ Paul Kendall

“. . . Diana takes the reader by the hand through her breast cancer experience from initial diagnosis through treatment and recovery in her memoir. I highly recommend this book for patients, families of patients, caregivers and healthcare workers . . . It will be like having a friend accompany you through the darkness to the light.”

~ Kathleen Pooler

“As a cancer survivor myself and someone who has lost a family member to the disease I know how scary and devastating things can get. Diana takes us through this journey with courage, grace, and love to the other side. The book is also replete with writing prompts and coaching to help you confront your own personal issues with words, perchance to heal.”

~ Victor R. Volkman

“While researching breast cancer treatment options Diana “didn’t want the cold hard facts [she] found online, but warm compassionate, and real information from other women, women who had been through the same scenario.” The title of this book is in your face. No mincing of words, no euphemism . . . She addresses the person who is going through a similar ordeal, who is on the same kind of journey . . . She teaches by example what honest writing is all about. She dares to show herself on the page . . . The reward is clarity that leads to setting and reaching of goals, while living each day to the fullest. Creative writing is self-discovery, and that’s what this book is all
about . . . she shares to make a point: writing is essential.”

~ Judith van Praag is the author of Creative Acts of Healing: After a Baby Dies

“Raab is a registered nurse, author, mother of three, and also the inspirational heroine of this deeply touching memoir. Diagnosed at the age of 47, Raab is painfully honest about her struggle to confront diagnosis, treatment, and ultimate recovery. She takes the reader from the calm before the storm, and into its eye! Raab’s book is many things: educational, thought provoking, empowering, inspirational, and
empathetic . . . Of ending life before it is actually finished. The author’s perspective touched me! As a writer, I turned pages in awe, amazed at the raw honesty Raab displayed . . . Raab’s message is clear, remarkable, and inspiring: keep reaching, keep stretching, and never, ever give up! Journey with Diana! Use the writing prompts and journaling exercises . . . Taste the poems she intersperses throughout!”

~ Catherine (Brehm) Rain, CPC and Freelance Writer

“Every deeper energy of my psyche delights in the messages of bravery, hope and sadness in Diana Raab’s inspiring book…brims with life and wonderful words. I loved the questions asked along the way and since I have not suffered from cancer, I substituted my own struggles and found the experience of examining my life to be a joyous and affirming one . . . read Diana’s book regardless of your health or status as a writer, read it because it is a gift of poetry!”

~ Lisa De Nikolits

“”Healing with Words” is a memoir of a woman’s battle with cancer and her struggle to understand and heal her life afterwards . . . Raab comes to use her journaling as a way of healing and validation. The book includes several personal journal entries as well as poems that have been written by the author and she has included writing prompts for readers to journal about their own cancer stories. Raab’s memoir is very accessible to the reader . . . Her poetry is intimate. Raab never sugar coats the things she felt or experienced . . . this memoir is a fresh and honest piece that shows how cancer can touch everyone and the obstacles that one must overcome in order to survive it.”

~ Stephanie Ward

“This book was amazing! I do not have breast cancer but I am very happy I read this book. Raab’s words and poems are an inspiration. If you or someone you know is suffering from cancer this book will teach you to journal your thought and feelings. The book is a great tool and a real life encounter with breast cancer. I feel so
grateful . . . ”

~ Erin E. Hankins,
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WRITERS ON THE EDGE
22 WRITERS SPEAK ABOUT ADDICTION AND DEPENDENCY
Foreword by Jerry Stahl
Contributors: Frederick & Steven Barthelme, Kera Bolonik, Margaret Bullitt-Jones, Maud Casey, Anna David, Denise Duhamel, B.H. Fairchild, Ruth Fowler, David Huddle, Perie Longo, Gregory Orr, Victoria Patterson, Molly Peacock, Scott Russell Sanders, Stephen Jay Schwartz, Linda Gray Sexton, Sue William Siverman, Chase Twichell, Rachel Yoder

“All addictions, at bottom, are the same; and each of us who battles addiction is different. I dove into Writers On The Edge. When I came up for air, I knew that I was in good company.”

~ Mary Sojourner, author of She Bets Her Life: A True Story of Gambling Addiction

“An honest, unflinching book about addiction from a tough group of talented writers. These hard-hitters know whereof they speak, and the language in which they speak can be shocking to the uninitiated—naked prose and poetry about potentially fatal cravings the flesh is heir to—drugs, booze, cutting, overeating, depression, suicide. Not everybody makes it through. Writers On The Edge is about dependency, and the toll it takes, on the guilty and the innocent alike.”

~ Dirk Hanson, author of The Chemical Carousel

“Recovery from addiction is, at its core, a deeply personal experience rooted in shared pain and hope among those seeking freedom from their addictive behaviors. Writers On The Edge offers intimate storytelling of such eloquence and insight that readers will be left with genuine insight into the power and complexity of this destructive but fascinating human condition. This book is a must-read for anyone wanting the real-life inside scoop on the human side of what addiction is all about.”

~ Arnold M. Washton, Ph.D., Addiction Psychologist, author of Treating Alcohol and Drug Problems in Psychotherapy Practice: Doing What Works

Writers On The Edge is a thoughtful compendium of first-person narratives by writers who have managed to use their despair to create beauty. A must-read for anyone in the recovery field.”

~ Leonard Buschel, Writers in Treatment

“Creative people have a predisposition to addiction it is often found. Writers on the Edge: 22 Writers Speak About Addiction and Dependency discusses the struggles many writers have faced as they have been consumed by their addiction, be it the obvious drug and alcohol addictions to the more misunderstood sex addictions as well as food addictions, and other compulsions that can ruin our lives. Writers on the Edge is a strong addition to writing collections, with interest to social issues and general self-help collections as well.”

Midwest Book Review

“This book is a must read for everybody, regardless if you have never fought addiction. After reading this book, it’s like somebody took the blindfold off my eyes and showed me what it’s like to be in their shoes, to feel their pain and to be careful, before I ever think I have the right to judge again.”

~ Kimberly’s Thoughts

“These writers on the edge write to give others a sense of hope that they’ve been there and back and so can you – they are a true inspiration for any writer afflicted by addiction, obsession, abuse, or mental disabilities. If they can make it, so can you.”

~ Vicki M. Taylor

“This book touched my soul. The individual stories provided insight into a world of struggle & pain. I have close relatives struggling with addiction and I was able to understand the strong hold that drugs & alcohol have on them. Thank you to the brave authors for sharing their stories.”

~ M.S. Bear

“The essays in this anthology are written by accomplished writers who deliver illuminating experiences with addiction, mental illness, suicide and other obsessive, self-destructive behaviors. Each entry depicts the painful, often harrowing, consequences of addictive behaviors. Most of the selections are essays, but also included are moving, often heartbreaking, poems by Molly Peacock and John Amen among others. Some of the pieces take an outsiders perspective and bear witness to other people’s addictions. Other essays jump head-first into the mire of personal addictive behavior. With unflinching honesty and courage–and top notch aesthetic presentation–these thoughtfully rendered narratives and poems ultimately shine a light into some very dark and ominous corners. What all the writers have in common is the ability to face overwhelming truths and give “voice” to their unique stories of insight and survival.”

~ Kathleen Gerard
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WRITERS AND THEIR NOTEBOOKS

Foreword by Phillip Lopate
Contributors: Zan Bockes, James Brown, Wendy Call, Karen de Balbian Verster, John Dufresne, Kathleen Gerard, Reginald Gibbons, Sue Grafton, Robin Hemley, Dorianne Laux, Phillip Lopate, Rebecca McClanahan, Kyoko Mori, Bonnie Morris, Mark Pawlak, Diana Raab, Peter Selgin, Kim Stafford, Maureen Stanton, Ilan Stavans, Michael Steinberg, Katherine Towler, Tony Trigilio, Lori VanPelt, Michelle Wildgen, Kathryn Wilkens

Writers And Their Notebooks is an anthology of essays by established and professional writers, discussing the value of simple notebooks to collect ideas, play around with words, discover new insights into evoking emotion with language, and much more. From sample journal entries that evolved into published pieces, to valuable advice for aspiring writers, to individual approaches to notebook keeping and much more, Writers And Their Notebooks is filled with tips, tricks, and techniques for getting creative juices flowing. An excellent supplementary reference for any would-be writer’s shelf.”

~Midwest Book Review

“In this book, a bevy of writers give the reader a glimpse into their private spaces. It is like peering into the rehearsal hall before the big opening performance where a ballerina does pirouette after pirouette, hoping to perfect the move before she must execute it in public. In their notebooks, the bards could banish the pesky editors (both internal and external) and be as free, as silly, as redundant or as irreverent as they wished. They could plant a verbal seed in their journal, as children do with watermelon seeds in their backyards, and see if it grows to be a formidable, fruit-giving novel. And perhaps they might inspire another young person stricken with hypergraphia to do the same, and we laypeople will be endlessly grateful for it.”

~ Book Slut

Writers and Their Notebooks is a collection of honest, thoughtful essays. Writers will be able to relate to the different perspectives, and non-writers will find the essays interesting and informative. At book signings, people often question the writing process of the author. Raab’s book provides answers for those readers through these well-crafted essays.”

~ US Review of Books

“This eclectic collection of essays illustrates what every writer and teacher of writing knows to be true: prewriting prepares writers to write. Diana M. Raab has assembled the work of more than twenty writers whose essays reflect on the relationship between journaling and effective writing. Writers and Their Notebooks provides a variety of perspectives on journal keeping, including the thoughts of such writers as James Brown whose journal is a tool to mine memory, Maureen Stanton who journals to survive despair, Bonnie Morris who journals to record and remember her world, Reginald Gibbons whose journal feeds his muse, and Dorianne Laux who journals to understand life. This collection offers a variety of analogies that will connect with a wide writing audience and inspire many to start keeping notebooks so that they, like Wendy Call, might “grab thoughts and anchor them in the world of dust motes and molecules . . . so they don’t decompose, float away, sublimate—passing like iodine into purple vapor.”

~ R.A.Rycraft, Contemporary World Literature

“Diana Raab is sure that “in time, your natural, authentic voice will emerge on the pages of your journal—a voice free from societal restrictions and inhibitions.” Writing is hardly a natural act. We’ve been doing it for only five thousand years, give or take. And when you keep a journal, you are dividing yourself into two people: the writer and her reader, who may be more critical than neutrally receptive. A double consciousness is a refined state of mind. It is certainly good training for creating fictional and poetic personas and characters who don’t come trailing the swampy dregs of sentimentality.”

~ Rain Taxi Review of Books

“You’re going to want to read and reread this book; write in it; draw stars beside passages; and exclamation marks next to those that are so apt they could have emanated from your own pen, your own heart. The collection will introduce you to writers you didn’t know before; and you’ll want to read their published work and compare those to what they say about the relationship of their notebooks to the final products. For example, writer James Brown states in his contribution, “For me the journal is . . . a stepping stone to a larger, more refined work . . . [W]hat you originally thought you wanted to say and what you actually end up writing aren’t always the same thing. My only complaint: I wish it were double its size.”

~ Lynette Benton, Tools and Tactics for Writers

“I love Diana Raab’s writing, and her editing is just as great. She gives the reader a look into how well-known authors use this essential part of every writer’s tool box, the notebook. She also provides a few sparks to get the reader writing. Great book.”

~ Patricia Charpentier

“What I especially like about Diana Raab’s book is the generous revealing of the creative workings and open-hearted generosity of the writers included. Plus I found a few tips for exercises to try in my own free-style notebook. All this experience and wisdom, plus an appendix that includes journal-writing exercises and a compilation of suggestions for further reading have me keeping my dog-eared copy of this book within easy reach.”

~ Judy Reeves
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REGINA’S CLOSET
FINDING MY GRANDMOTHER’S SECRET JOURNAL

“The book is remarkable for its large sweep of history as well as for the intimate details of everyday life, of which the journal itself—’a plastic sheath filled with papers’—is the most poignant.”

~ Kyoko Mori, author of The Dream of Water: A Memoir and Polite Lies

“Raab makes Regina’s Closet a walk-in book, complete with recovered documents and packed with the sumptuous, minute, domestic, tormented and romantic details of one fully-lived life and another plucky life lived in answer to it.”

~ Molly Peacock, author of Paradise: Piece by Piece: A Memoir

“There is an ancient adage, which to paraphrase, states that if people wish to see their own lives in perspective, they must first search for their reflections in the souls of their ancestors. This same adage portrays the journey of discovery as emotionally arduous, spiritually painful and often dangerous. Diana Raab’s marvelous journal has liberated the voice of her remarkable grandmother with insight, compassion and considerable skill. Acknowledging the price paid for the truth, I applaud her courage as well as her literary talents.”

~ Thomas Steinbeck, author and son of American literary forefather, John Steinbeck

“Powerful, fascinating, and deeply moving . . . Regina’s story of a determined little girl fighting for her family’s survival in Europe during World War I opens a window onto a time in history that few people alive remember, but everyone should know about . . . Utterly riveting.”

~ Rachel Simon, author of Riding the Bus With My Sister

Regina’s Closet is a compelling memoir of war, diasporas, survival, and love. Diana Raab has painstakingly researched her grandmother’s life and in these pages pays homage to an incredible woman who recorded in her journals the horror of war and the difficult but ascendant work of survival. When Diana is diagnosed with breast cancer, she turns to her grandmother’s journals and discovers the inspiration and strength she’ll need in order to survive this devastating disease. Regina’s Closet is a transcendent tale about the power of words and the indestructible wisdom of love.”

~ Connie May Fowler, author of Before Women Had Wings and The Problem with Murmur Lee

Regina’s Closet is a raw and moving account of the life of Regina Klein, Raab’s maternal grandmother, set against the backdrop of widespread violence in Europe in the early 1900s. The book is at once a compelling portrait of complex legacies passed down from mothers to daughters (and then to granddaughters) — as well as a testament to how our lives are inexorably shaped by the choices and circumstances of those who came before us. This is a brave, important, and well-written book.”

~ Paula Goldman, Founder/Director, Imagining Ourselves, International Museum of Women

“Intensely interesting, Diana Raab’s transcript of her grandmother’s diary portrays the immense sadness and difficulty—and bravery and determination—of a life in Europe under occupation. Raab’s commentary provides useful information and chronology but also reveals her deep love for, and sense of connection with, her grandmother. Two memoirs in one then, and both of them achingly poignant, generously precise.”

~ Kelly Cherry, author of The Exiled Heart

Regina’s Closet offers a powerful window into the lingering effects of human atrocity. Through her grandmother’s secret journal, Diana Raab discovers how both pain and resilience can be passed down through generations, and how sharing our stories can become a profound act of healing.”

~ Gayle Brandeis, author of Fruitflesh: Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write

“Thank you, Diana, for giving a face to the little girl I sent the contents of my ‘piggy bank’ some ninety years ago. Your book, Regina’s Closet touched me deeply.”

~ Mireille Marokvia, author of Sins of the Innocent

“What is contained in the pages of this journal is literally a whirlwind. In this day when remarkable stories of fathers, mothers, brothers, sons and daughters appear in print with increasing regularity, a reader might be justified in appearing skeptical when I say Regina’s story is remarkable. But it is. Diana has shaped this powerful raw material into a form that we can now simply call—art.”

~ Richard Goodman, author of French Dirt

“Finding her grandmother after her suicide became the central event of Diana’s childhood, and that’s why finding her grandmother’s journal years later may have been the central saving event of Diana in her own complex life as an adult. A strong, serious true story of women surviving.”

~ Philip F. Deaver, author of Silent Retreats, winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction

“Wow! What an incredible story. It’s rare for me to “rave” or to liter my opinions with complimentary adjectives and yet, I have been exposed to a book that absolutely demands both . . . Regina’s Closet: Finding My Grandmother’s Secret Journal is hauntingly beautiful and filled with the kind of raw emotion that reaches out from the pages and touches the reader in a very tangible way. Don’t miss this heart warming, inspiring and life-affirming book– this is one you will want to share with everyone!”

~ RJ McGill