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Dancing at the Shame Prom: Sharing the Stories That Kept Us Small Paperback – September 11, 2012
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About the Author
Ferris serves on the Executive Board of Directors at Pages & Places Literary Festival in Scranton, PA, Peters Valley Arts, and the Education and Craft Center, and serves on the Advisory Board of The Women's Media Center. She is on faculty at The San Miguel de Allende Writers' Festival, and is a visiting teacher at UCLA (extension). Her number one goal, desire, and dream is for ALL women to awaken to their greatness, their beauty, and their power.
Hollye Dexter is a blogger and essayist, and the author of two memoirs. Her stories have been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Answered Prayers and Character Consciousness, as well as online at Fem2pt0, The Next Family, The Shape of A Mother, and BackPage magazine. She writes regularly for iPinion Syndicate and AOL Patch News.
Dexter is a singer/songwriter with four albums out, and for the past decade has run workshops for teens in foster care through her award-winning nonprofit organization Art and Soul. In 2007 she was given the Agape Spirit award by Dr. Michael Beckwith (from The Secret) for her work with at-risk youth. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three children.
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Top Customer Reviews
Some of the stories in the book were dramatic, even tragic. But with some, my reaction was: "Really? The author felt ashamed about that?" It wasn't her fault, or it wasn't that big of a deal. Then it hit me -- the stories that keep us small aren't always dramatic, or even all that shameful, by some conventional gauge. Much of the harm comes from what we conclude about ourselves from an experience, and that's where we have the power to reframe. Many memories, some recent, some very old, came back as I read this book. I saw where I'd developed a measure of shame and still carried that with me. I had the opportunity to re-think, or forgive myself, or just get clear that the shame wasn't productive.
I kept thinking of the metaphor of exposing something dank and moldy to the sunshine. Reading this book gives you the courage to inquire into your own stories that "keep you small" and teaches you how to wield the light to clean up the dark and moldy places in your psyche. Liberating!
Almost universally the writing is masterful. Even when it isn’t, it is still readable and even charming.
Although most of these essays bear the mark of confession, the gist is not so much “mea culpa” as “wtf was I thinking dragging this crappy feeling of self hatred and fear of being known around for so long?” Were they brave to reveal so much? Hell yeah. Did I come away liking them as individuals? No, not always. But, I had to respect them, if not for the courage it takes to be known, then at least for the willingness to make the effort to let go of old sins, both committed and endured.
I wrote to one of the editors on the day I finished reading the collection that before I started reading it I fully expected to weary of the breast beating about half way in, but, instead, I wound up wholly engaged to the (almost literally) bitter end. I never wearied. Due to superlative editorial pacing on the part of Hollye Dexter and Amy Ferris (both contributors), the book (for me) was a page turner.
Truthfully, at the end of more than a few of these short works I had the urge to call someone up, make some amends, or… just do something. If that was the goal for these ladies, to formulate a call to action among all shame bearing females, then, okay, mission accomplished, at least for me.
This book should be required reading in every Sociology department and Women’s Studies program in America. It is an example of the very best of the body of “new feminist” writing.