Meet Anne Walsh Donnelly - Runner Up in the 2019 Q4 Creative Non-Fiction Essay Contest with "How NOT to Fall in Love with Your Therapist"

Sunday, December 01, 2019
Congratulations to Anne Walsh Donnelly and  How NOT To Fall in Love with Your Therapist. and all the winners of our 2019 Q4 Creative Non-Fiction Essay Contest!

Anne's Bio:

Anne Walsh Donnelly lives in County Mayo in the west of Ireland. She is a single mother to two awesome teenagers and works as a Student Services Office in a third-level college. She considers herself blessed to have two children who understand how important writing is to her and know not to disturb her when she is in the ‘writing zone.’

She started writing in her mid-40s, kick-started by the end of her marriage and her work in therapy. She dedicates this piece to her therapist(s) who provided a safe place for her to explore her inner thoughts and feelings.

She is the author of the poetry chapbook The Woman With An Owl Tattoo published by Fly on the Wall poetry press in the UK. The chapbook is an intimate reflection on her journey of self-discovery and acceptance of her sexual identity in mid-life.

She is also the author of the short story collection Demise of the Undertaker’s Wife published by The Blue Nib imprint in Ireland. To find out more about Anne and her work, go to:

Twitter: @AnneWDonnelly
Facebook: AnneWalshDonnelly

If you haven't done so already, check out Anne's expertly written story How NOT To Fall in Love with Your Therapist and then return here for a chat with the author.

WOW: Congratulations Anne! Thank you for writing this expertly written and very moving essay - what is the take-away you'd like readers to gain from How NOT to Fall in Love with Your Therapist ?

Anne: Therapy is Hard Work, but very rewarding. The relationship between a therapist and a client is unique and sacred. 

Where else does one get unconditional acceptance in life?
But the real healer in life is love. The greatest gift we can give ourselves is to allow ourselves to love and allow ourselves to be loved.

WOW: That L Word sure is a biggy, isn't it? If we love ourselves, we should care for ourselves - so what advice would you give to others when it comes to self-care?

Anne: Neglecting and suppressing your own needs does not make you a better woman, spouse or mother. I have become a much better mother as a result of taking time out to meet my own needs and as a result of the work I’ve done in therapy.

We all need to take time out to do what nurtures us, whether that is seeing a therapist, taking a walk in the woods on one’s one, getting a facial or making time to be creative.

Fight for your right to have space for YOU and guard it with your life.

WOW: That great advice resonates with me as a mom right now - thank you! I promise I'll try!

What’s next for you? What are your writing goals for the remainder of 2019 and beyond?

Anne: I’ve had a poetry chapbook and a book of short stories published this year so I’m currently giving readings at literary events to promote both books. I’m also working on a full-length poetry collection which I hope to have ready to submit to a publisher in 2020.

I’ve also started to write some more non-fiction pieces. Being placed in this competition has given me the encouragement to write more personal essays.

WOW: Speaking of getting personal - let's talk about getting personal with your younger self.  Do you have advice for your younger self when it comes to making decisions, believing in yourself, and/or writing? What would your current self say to the younger you?

Anne: Keep dreaming and believe that one day your dreams will become a reality. You imagination does not give you dreams that are not within your capability to achieve.

You have hidden talents and depths that you will discover, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but soon. One day you will soar.

Every back-breaking and gut-wrenching obstacle that you encounter will enrich you and your writing.

Yes, your tree will be stripped bare by cruel winter winds but your fallen leaves will nourish your roots and your limbs will once again be dressed by greener and lusher leaves

WOW: That is so beautiful - I hope people read that at least twice.

 Is How NOT to Fall in Love with Your Therapist part of a larger memoir? Have you considered writing a memoir? Why or why not?

Anne: It might be part of a larger memoir. I am dabbling in writing some more nonfiction pieces. It’s a new genre for me. Up to now I have been writing poetry and short stories.

My poetry chapbook has been described as a poetic memoir. It reflects on my ‘coming out’ journey and its honesty has been applauded. It was daunting to put it out there and to see it published. But it has been well received.

I’ve always wanted to write about my experience in therapy and have been trying to write about it for a few years but I’ve always felt blocked. Then in May of this year, this piece ‘How NOT to Fall in Love with Your Therapist, just flowed out of me onto the page.

Is there more to say? Yes. Will I write it? Probably.

Although this piece was easy to write, it was daunting to submit it, because it is so personal. Part of me wants to expand this piece, so who knows. All I can say is watch this space.

WOW: Well Anne - I'm so glad you made it through the daunting task of submitting. Your piece is beautiful and I appreciate it as a reader. Thank you also for taking time to be interviewed today. We look forward to hearing more from you in 2020 and beyond! 

Interviewed by Crystal Otto who just keeps on keeping on!

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