Diana M. Raab, MFA, RN was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1954 and received her undergraduate degree in Health Administration and Journalism in 1976. A few years later she received her RN degree. After 25 years as a medical and self-help writer, she's directed her creative energy towards nonfiction and memoir writing. In 2003 she earned her MFA in Writing from Spalding University's low-residency program.
Diana is the author of eight books. Her first memoir, Regina's Closet: Finding My Grandmother's Secret Journal (2007) was the recipient of the 2009 Mom's Choice Award for Adult Non-Fiction, and the 2009 National Indie Award for Excellence in Memoir. Her award-winning work has been published in numerous literary magazines and is widely anthologized. She has one poetry chapbook, My Muse Undresses Me, and two poetry collections, Dear Anais: My Life in Poems For You (winner of the 2009 Next Generation Indie Award for Poetry) and The Guilt Gene (2009).
After experiencing three successful, but high-risk pregnancies, she wrote a comprehensive guide for other women. The award-winning Getting Pregnant and Staying Pregnant (1989) was updated and revised in collaboration with Dr. Errol Norwitz of Yale School of Medicine under the new title, Your High Risk Pregnancy: A Practical and Supportive Guide (2009).
Diana is editor of the anthology, Writers and Their Notebooks (USC Press 2010), a collection of essays written by distinguished writers who journal, including Sue Grafton, Kim Stafford, Dorianne Laux, John DuFresne, James Brown and Michael Steinberg, to name a few. The foreword is written by world-renowned personal essayist, Phillip Lopate.
Diana's latest book, Healing with Words: A Writer's Cancer Journey (2010), reflects her experiences battling breast cancer at age forty-seven, and then multiple myeloma, a type of bone marrow cancer, when she was fifty-two.
She currently teaches creative journaling and memoir in UCLA Extension Writers' Program. She facilitates workshops in journaling and writing for healing around the country, and is a frequent moderator for panels on writing.
Find out more about Diana by visiting her website, www.DianaRaab.com, her blog, Diana's Notebook, and her Facebook Fan Page.
Healing with Words: A Writer's Cancer Journey
By Diana M. Raab
Healing with Words: A Writer's Cancer Journey is a compassionate and wry self-help memoir written by an award-winning prolific author, nurse, and poet, who at the age of forty-seven found her life shattered first by a DCIS (early breast cancer) diagnosis and five years later by another, seemingly unrelated and incurable cancer--multiple myeloma. The book includes the author's experiences, reflections, poetry and journal entries, in addition to writing prompts for readers to express their own personal stories. Raab's journals have provided a safe haven and platform to validate and express her feelings. Raab views journaling to be like a daily vitamin--in that it heals, detoxifies and is essential for optimal health.
Readers will learn to:
- Understand the importance of early cancer detection and how to take control of their own health
- Discover the power of writing to release bottled-up emotions
- Learn how the process of journaling can facilitate healing
- See how a cancer diagnosis can be a riveting event which can renew and change a person in a unique way
Paperback: 206 pages
Publisher: Loving Healing Press (May 2010)
Read an excerpt on Amazon
**Author's proceeds from the sale of this book donated to benefit the Mayo Clinic Foundation.
Book Giveaway Comments Contest!
If you received our Events Newsletter, remember, we are holding a contest to win a copy of Diana Raab's book Healing with Words: A Writer's Cancer Journey to those that comment. So, grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and enjoy the chat, and share your thoughts, and comments, at the end. We will randomly choose a winner from those who comment.
Interview by Jodi Webb
WOW: Welcome, Diana! We're thrilled to be launching your blog tour today! Tell us how you started out as a writer.
Diana: I have been writing since the age of ten when my mother gave me a journal to help me cope with the loss of my grandmother. Since then, I have found solace in the written word. In university I studied health administration, nursing, and journalism. All my writing begins on the pages of my journals, whether I am crafting a poem, essay or book.
WOW: Not every family thinks of writing as a coping mechanism. Do you come from a family of writers or creative people?
Diana: I did not come from a creative family. However, I did come from a family of journal keepers. My maternal grandmother, Regina, wrote a retrospective journal about her experience as an orphan during World War I. In fact, I found her journal after she took her life in my childhood home in 1964. This journal was the foundation for my first memoir, Regina's Closet: Finding My Grandmother's Secret Journal. My mother also kept a record of my childhood and inspired me to do the same with my own children. I am forever grateful for this.
WOW: That's incredible! I would love to find a record of my grandmother's experiences. No wonder you love journaling. Tell us more.
Diana: Ever since I received my first Khalil Gibran journal from my mother at the age of ten, I have been using my journal to write during both good and bad times. I journaled throughout my adolescence, sharing my teenage angst with my journal. When I was confronted with a high-risk pregnancy at the age of twenty-nine resulting in eight months of bedrest I chronicled my experience. Eventually I used these particular journal entries as the basis for my first book, Getting Pregnant and Staying Pregnant: A Guide to Infertility and High-Risk Pregnancy. This book was revised and updated in 2009 in collaboration with Dr. Errol Norwitz, under the new title, Your High Risk Pregnancy: A Practical and Supportive Guide.
All of my books, articles and poems have taken seed on the pages of my journals. I have filled over 100 blank books. Typically I use only one journal at a time, except for my separate dream journal which I always keep at my bedside table.
The most rewarding aspect about journaling is being able to make sense of what is going on in my life. The journal is a best friend who always listens and this is wonderful.
WOW: It's amazing that your first writing was the "healing writing" you address in your most recent book. How long did it take to develop and write Healing with Words: A Writer's Cancer Journey?
Diana: I began writing the book in 2001 during my post-operative period. Because I had written it from my heart, I wrote it very quickly. The basis of the book was used for my MFA thesis in writing at Spalding University. I held off on having it published because I had a few other projects to complete, plus there was a time when the market was inundated with memoirs. The timing just seemed right now.
WOW: Your memoir seems to complement the more than thirty years you spent specializing in medical and self-help writing. What types of markets have you written for?
Diana: I have over 300 published articles in both trade and professional magazines. I am also the author of eight books, many of which have been award-winners.
WOW: I know you wrote a book about high-risk pregnancy, something you dealt with. Have you always had a personal connection to the subjects of your books?
Diana: My writing always begins with the personal and expands out to the universal. The way I look at it, if I have a problem or issue I want to write about, chances are others are also facing similar issues. I love teaching others through my words.
WOW: What kinds of things inspire you to write?
Diana: I am inspired by life. I try to live in the moment and appreciate and notice what is around me. I always have too many ideas for the amount of hours in the day. However, I do get more inspired while traveling. I do my best writing in airplanes and I haven't yet figured out why except that there are less distractions, particularly cell phones and computers.
I also enjoy speaking with interesting people who spark my creativity. My journal is always packed with nuggets of writing ideas.
WOW: Recently we've been discussing the pros and cons of working while on vacation, so it seems interesting that traveling seems to give your creative juices a boost. Do you find yourself stealing away minutes during family vacations to write? Or does your family understand that it's something you have to do, that it's part of your daily schedule like brushing your teeth?
Diana: Since I do some of my best writing while on airplanes, I used to joke with my MFA about how I should take a trip around the world to tackle my next book project. I live on the west coast and my three children live on the east coast. This gives me a great deal of time to write while traveling. I typically do not write while on vacation, except to jot down observations in my journal which might be used in future published work.
WOW: You've written memoir, self-help, medical, poetry...are there any other genres you'd like to tackle?
Diana: I think these genres keep me busy enough. I have dabbled in fiction and I've been told I have a good imagination, but I keep getting pulled back into nonfiction. They say you should write in the genre you enjoy reading--memoir and biography continue to be my favorites.
WOW: What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?
Diana: Being consistent in your writing practice and persistent in sending it out.
WOW: That is the key! Thanks, Diana, for taking the time to chat with us today.
Want to join Diana on her blog tour? Check out these dates and mark your calendar! You can also snag a copy of WOW's Events Calendar HERE.
Blog Tour Dates: Come and join the fun!
July 12, 2010 Monday
Diana will be chatting with WOW! Women On Writing at The Muffin. One lucky commenter will win a signed copy of Diana's book!
July 13, 2010 Tuesday
Stop by My Breast Cancer Blog for a peek inside Diana Raab's book Healing with Words: A Writer's Cancer Journey. You can also enter to win her book!
July 14, 2010 Wednesday
Today at Writers Inspired Diana Raab writes about the link between creativity and depression. She's also giving away a copy of her latest book, Healing with Words.
July 15, 2010 Thursday
Stop by Mom-e-Centric to meet author Diana Raab and enter to win her book, Healing with Words.
July 16, 2010 Friday
What inspired you to begin writing? Diana Raab, who can claim a shelf full of books to her name, tells us what started her on her writing journey.
July 20, 2010 Tuesday
Diana Raab, author of Healing with Words: A Writer's Cancer Journey, shares her thoughts on the link between creativity and depression today at Self-Help Daily. Are depressed people that are also creative an exception to the rule?
July 22, 2010 Thursday
Author Diana Raab shares the secrets to writing a healing poem today. You also have the chance to win her latest book Healing with Words: A Writer's Cancer Journey!
July 27, 2010 Tuesday
Eliza will be reviewing Diana Raab's latest book Healing with Words today at Silver & Grace. Stop by and read her thoughtful review!
July 29, 2010 Thursday
Stop by the Spirituality and Self-Help blog to learn some techniques for coping with life's craziness from Diana Raab, author of Healing with Words: A Writer's Cancer Journey.
August 3, 2010 Tuesday
Author Diana Raab will be sharing a special memory about her love of books today. You can also enter to win a copy of her latest book, Healing with Words.
August 3, 2010 Tuesday
Diana returns to Silver & Grace to give away her latest book Healing with Words: A Writer's Cancer Journey.
August 5, 2010 Thursday
Diana stops by Kris Carr's blog Crazy Sexy Life to tell us how creativity and depression can coexist. Last chance to win a copy of Diana Raab's book Healing with Words: A Writer's Cancer Journey!
August 10, 2010 Tuesday
Diana returns to Silver & Grace to answer a few questions about her latest book Healing with Words.
To view all of our touring authors, check out our Events Calendar HERE.
If you have a blog or website and would like to host Diana Raab or schedule a tour of your own, please email Angela and Jodi at: firstname.lastname@example.org
And be sure to comment on this post to enter in a drawing for a copy of Diana Raab's inspiring book Healing with Words: A Writer's Cancer Journey! And check back in a couple of days in the comments section to see if you won!