Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Interview with Claire M. Schwartz, author of Putting Out the Fire


Inside the Book:

Putting Out the Fire 

Title: Putting Out the Fire: Nurturing Mind, Body & Spirit in the First Week of Loss and Beyond Author: Claire M. Schwartz 
Release Date: May 1, 2015 
Publisher: Helian Press Books 
Genre: Self-Help/Grief and Bereavement 
Format: Ebook/Paperback

The phone rings - your breath falls away - and each moment becomes a lifetime. The death of someone significant in your world can rewrite the scope and breadth of who you are. But in this exact moment of decisions, questions, family stress, and legalities, what do you do first and how do you cope?

When author Claire M. Schwartz lost her mother suddenly when she was 24, she experienced this exact thought process. But with all the misinformation out there about Grief & Loss, and without tools that actually made her feel better, she fell apart. After 20+ years on her healing journey, and over two dozen more losses, she brings you the Truths that no one will tell you and the Tools to truly bring you support and clarity in the initial hours and days following a death.

In this slim and personal book, you will learn:

- How to practice Self-Care during this intense emotional time
- The Ten Tall Tales of Grief & Loss ™
- the things we get told that may be well-meaning, but can be so hurtful and destructive
- how to respond and plus compassionate ideas that will better support you
- Who to trust and who to avoid, in the near-term and the long-term
- How to manage funeral arrangements, the legal bits and all those details that can make you nuts, but must be done
- Ways to celebrate your loved one, as well as what to do when the deceased was not so loved.....
- What to focus on after the first week, and what to expect in the longer term

 We all experience loss in life - but what is very difficult to find is truthful advice that makes sense, and practical tools that anyone can use. This book tackles both, with compassion and clear practicality, with heart and with wisdom. There is no other book out there that focuses solely on this first, most-intense and exhausting period. It will support you when you need it most and get your healing journey started on the right foot.

  amazon barnes-and-noble goodreads


What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
            I started out my journey very broken. I have come to describe my formative years as The Dark Ugly™ and it included violence, abuse, neglect and trauma. That sort of damage can make a huge mess of your life – I made terrible decisions, alienated people, lost friendships and came very close to serious trouble. I lived alone in New York for over a decade and it’s a miracle I’m still around!
I didn’t come to truly understand the depth of my brokenness until much later when I worked with an excellent trauma therapist. And I have continued to learn and heal and grow – and am deeply honored to have something to offer from my journey so that I can pay those lessons forward in my work.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
            My mother read to me from the time I was born. She did read some children’s books (especially Pooh), but she also read great poets – Sandberg and Thurber – Yiddish humor – Shakespeare – Longfellow and Stevenson. She passed on her love of language to me, and it is one of the bonds between us that I cherish.
When and why did you begin writing?
            Writing has been my main form of personal expression all of my life. From angst-ridden teenage poetry to decades of journaling, I find I can best communicate through writing from the heart in a way that I hope is personal and personable. Of course, it doesn’t take the place of a good long phone call!
What inspired you to write your first book?
Beginning with my mother’s death in 1995, and over the 30+ losses that I have experienced, I found no resources whatsoever that authentically reflected my experience in a Griever’s world when a loss first occurs, nor did I find anything that summarized important tools one needed to know to survive the first week. I was left with so many questions, and so many things that I wish I had known ahead of time. In that moment when you are feeling everything at once, and yet you are also completely numb, right when you have to leap into making 327 decisions and turn your life upside-down, how do you manage? How do I take care of myself? How do I cope when someone makes a hurtful comment? How do I handle family strife? What do I need to do first and what can wait? Why does everyone throw all these platitudes around that make no sense and make things worse? In that painful process, I didn’t find anything that told me the truth. So I decided to write it.
Who or what influenced your writing once you began?
            Well, you can’t go wrong with Shakespeare. The genius of the layers in his plays and sonnets just impresses me every single time I hear a great performance. As far as others, too many to mention, because I read in so many different genres. But if I had to single out a few, I would say: Dr. Maya Angelou, for her passion and beauty with language, Elie Wiesel, for his craft at capturing tragedy and Brené Brown for her tenacity and honesty.
What is your greatest strength as a writer? 
            I care deeply about finding just the right word to express an idea or emotion, and I will tool and retool until it fits into that right slot.
What is your favorite quality about yourself?
            I don’t quit – I come from a lot of heartache and destructive ways of living, and I have always been determined that there MUST be a better way. So I think in terms of solutions and that though I may be a product of my past, but I am not defined by it.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself?
            After years of abuse and misuse, as well as constantly being told that I am wrong, it’s tough to admit when I actually am wrong! I’m working on it!
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
“There is a crack in everything – that’s how the light gets in.”
~ Leonard Cohen
Thank you so much, Claire.
            You are more than welcome.

Meet the Author:

Claire M. Schwartz is from the Detroit suburbs and comes from a place she calls The Dark Ugly™. She lived in a lovely town, went to a private school for gifted kids, and had cultured and educated parents. Yet Grief & Loss have followed her as long as she can remember - trauma, violence, & neglect - loss of safety and security, loss of confidence, loss of grandparents, friends and animal companions, loss of health, opportunity and sense of place in the world. The pivot point of her life was the sudden death of her mother in 1995, which changed her world forever. Yet recovery was painstakingly slow, wrapped up in misinformation, confusion and more pain. After years of therapy, failures and mistakes, her life's goal has been to find the answers that made no sense when her healing journey began. Now more than 20 years and 30+ losses on, she is bringing all that she has learned into one slim and powerful volume, in the hope that you suffer less than she did on her healing quest.

Claire holds a BA in psychology from the University of Michigan, is a Spiritual Counselor, Reiki Master Teacher, Certified Professional Coach and Interfaith Minister. She is happily married in New Jersey, surrounded by cats, great food and the best of friends.

You can visit her website at http://www.YouCanHealYourGrief.com

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