Olds News

#ASJA2018

American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA)
47th Annual Writers Conference • Navigate. Motivate. Captivate.

Register Now to Save!

To learn more about the Conference and How to Join
click here

This year’s New York City conference will be held at the
Sheraton Times Square Hotel
811 7th Avenue at West 53rd Street, New York City.

I owe so much of my full-time freelance writing career to ASJA

 

Conference Schedule • Friday, May 18 • Members-Only Day

#ASJA2018

 

Conference Schedule • Saturday, May 19 • Open to the Public

#ASJA2018

 

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Keynote Speakers

CONFERENCE TRACK CHAIRS
Co-Chairs

 

• Aimee Ross
Aimee Ross is the author of Permanent Marker: A Memoir (KiCam Projects, March 2018). She worked as a Regional Educator in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum for ten years. In addition, she is a nationally award-winning educator who has been a high school English teacher for the past twenty-five years. @AimeeRoss

• Daniel Jones
Daniel Jones has edited the Modern Love column in the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times since its inception in 2004. His books include “Love Illuminated,” two essay anthologies—“Modern Love” and “The Bastard on the Couch”—and the novel “After Lucy,” which was a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award. Jones appears weekly on the Modern Love Podcast, which had 20 million downloads in its first year. Jones has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS This Morning, ABC News, CNN and NPR. His writing can also be found in The Times, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar and elsewhere. @DanielJones

• Katherine Reynolds Lewis
Katherine Reynolds Lewis is an award-winning independent journalist, author and speaker. Her book, The Good News About Bad Behavior (PublicAffairs, April 2018), grew out of her school discipline story for Mother Jones that became the magazine’s most-read piece. Katherine contributes to The Atlantic, Fortune, Washington Post and more.

 

TRACK CHAIRS

The conference theme is based on the three tracks:

Navigate (Beginner). Motivate (Intermediate). Captivate (Advanced).

• Carolyn Crist
Beginning Track Manager and Detailed Overseer @CarolynCrist

• Nancy Dunham
Mid-Career Track Manager and Volunteer Coordinator. @NancyDunham

• Dorri Olds
Advanced Track Chair and Social Media Maven @DorriOlds

Stay tuned for more info about #ASJA2018! Hope to see you there!

Related Articles:

#ASJA2018

American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA)
47th Annual Writers Conference • Navigate. Motivate. Captivate.

Register Now to Save!

To learn more about the Conference and How to Join click here

This year’s New York City conference will be held at the Sheraton Times Square Hotel
811 7th Avenue at West 53rd Street, New York City.
Friday, May 18 is Members-Only Day.
Saturday, May 19 is open to anyone who would like to attend.

I owe so much of my full-time freelance writing career to ASJA!

CONFERENCE TRACK CHAIRS
Co-Chairs

• Carolyn Crist
Beginning Track Manager and Detailed Overseer @CarolynCrist

• Nancy Dunham
Mid-Career Track Manager and Volunteer Coordinator. @NancyDunham

• Dorri Olds
Advanced Track Chair and Social Media Maven @DorriOlds

The conference theme is based on the three tracks: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced.

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Keynote Speakers

• Aimee Ross
Aimee Ross is the author of Permanent Marker: A Memoir (KiCam Projects, March 2018). She worked as a Regional Educator in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum for ten years. In addition, she is a nationally award-winning educator who has been a high school English teacher for the past twenty-five years. @AimeeRoss

• Daniel Jones
Daniel Jones has edited the Modern Love column in the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times since its inception in 2004. His books include “Love Illuminated,” two essay anthologies—“Modern Love” and “The Bastard on the Couch”—and the novel “After Lucy,” which was a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award. Jones appears weekly on the Modern Love Podcast, which had 20 million downloads in its first year. Jones has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS This Morning, ABC News, CNN and NPR. His writing can also be found in The Times, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar and elsewhere. @DanielJones

• Katherine Reynolds Lewis
Katherine Reynolds Lewis is an award-winning independent journalist, author and speaker. Her book, The Good News About Bad Behavior (PublicAffairs, April 2018), grew out of her school discipline story for Mother Jones that became the magazine’s most-read piece. Katherine contributes to The Atlantic, Fortune, Washington Post and more.

Stay tuned for more info about #ASJA2018! Hope to see you there!

Related Articles:

short-term loan

There are many advantages associated with taking out a short-term loan and you’ll need to know what they are before making a decision. If you need money right away — for any reason — this type of loan can be your best bet. The more you learn about these loans, the smarter your determination will be. Here are just a few of the best reasons to think about taking out a short-term loan.

1.     Solve Your Cash Flow Problem Now

A short-term loan is a highly effective way to solve your cash flow problem immediately. You can typically get these loans very quickly, making them perfect for those who are in a desperate financial situation. If you have medical bills, home repairs, or some other crucial expense that is time sensitive, it’s important that you take the time to look into this option.

2.     Save Yourself Money

Another great thing about short term loans is that you won’t have to worry about spending a ton of money on interest. Long-term loans can cost a lot of extra money because the interest quickly adds up, but this is not the case with short-term loans. Because you will only have a couple of weeks or so to pay back the money you borrow, there won’t be a lot of interest to pay.

3.     Grow Your Business

If you need money to expand your business, getting a short-term loan can be a great way to do just that. You can use the money you get from the loan as capital to finance new stock or something else that will help you with expanding. This is a very smart borrowing option for those who don’t need a ridiculous amount of money.

4.     Boost Your Credit Score

There are numerous ways to go about increasing your credit score, including getting a short-term loan. If you are able to pay off your loan on time, you can significantly raise your score quickly. This, in turn, will help you to get approved for future loans, such as a mortgage. If you want to buy a house at some point, it is important that you work on improving your credit as soon as possible.

5.     Not As Much Stress

A long-term loan can come with lots of stress because of the length of time it takes to pay off, but short-term loans are far less anxiety-inducing. Because you won’t have to pay it off for very long, it will be over before you know it. This is by far the best option for those who don’t want to deal with a lot of financial stress and worry.

 

Short-term loans are a great option for many people, so you will need to take some time to explore everything they have to offer before deciding either way. In the end, you will be glad you decided to do this research, but don’t borrow more than you can afford to repay.

Written by Boris Dzhingarov

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Dorri Olds Books

Eight Book Anthologies

The first of the eight book anthologies that I have listed here is: “Creative People…and what makes them tick.” Author Michelle Monet interviewed me about my work as a creative nonfiction writer of personal essays, my journalism and successful art shows. Many of you may not know that before the writing, my background included years of art school at Boston University, The Art Institute of Boston, Bard College and Parsons School of Design. After graduating from Parsons, I dove into commercial art while also pursuing a fine arts career. I sold 51 paintings during my fine arts days. This was a fun Q&A with Monet, who has had a colorful life as a creative entrepreneur.

Featured Author/Artisan: Dorri Olds,Writer, Journalist, Fine Artist

Creative People … and what makes them tick (2017). There are many books about famous creative people throughout history. You can search the internet for information on Michelangelo, Picasso and also modern-day creatives like Elon Musk, J.K. Rowling or Stephen Spielberg. In this book anthology, Michelle Monet interviewed Dorri Olds, along with other creatives to find out what makes them tick. Much to my surprise and delight, when the book was released I saw that Monet had devoted a whole section to our discussion about me and my work—including my work in progress, my first full-length book, a memoir and self-help hybrid for women who have survived rape and have finally decided to speak about it during the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement. The book is scheduled for release later this year and is focused on how women can regain their strength after rape trauma.

More Book Anthologies

The following is a list of book anthologies that include my creative nonfiction in the form of essays and short stories. This collection is of a lighter variety than my typically dark and troubled tales. Although my heart always lies with the dark side, I do relish positivity and inspirational writings also. Enjoy!

Easy as A, B, C

Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Positive: 101 Inspirational Stories about Changing Your Life through Positive Thinking (2012). Attitude is everything. This is an inspirational and uplifting book with tales about the power of positive thinking. In bad times, and good, readers will be encouraged to keep a positive attitude.

Compassion and a Cannoli

Chicken Soup for the Tea Lover’s Soul: Stories Steeped in Comfort (2007). Is enjoying a cup of tea your favorite part of the day? Is the brewing of a ‘cuppa’ a ritual that centers and calms you? Reconnect with the silent intimacy and introspection experienced while sipping tea.

Skinny Dotty and Her Chocolates

Chicken Soup for the Chocolate Lover’s Soul: Indulging in Our Sweetest Moments (2007). If you can’t live without a daily bite of chocolate, have visions of chocolate truffles dancing in your head, you will savor the decadence of this collection of stories.

Chicken Soup for the Recovering Soul by Dorri Olds

Chicken Soup for the Recovering Soul: Your Personal, Portable Support Group with Stories of Healing, Hope, Love and Resilience (2005). Find inspiration for change and personal growth in each story as people in this dynamic community share their experiences of transformation, of lives reclaimed, of relationships renewed and futures full of promise.

With Help From a Friend

Chicken Soup for the College Soul: Inspiring and Humorous Stories About College (1998)

A collection of stories meant to guide, inspire, support and encourage readers throughout their college experiences.

The Charleston Dancer

At Grandmother’s Table: Women Write about Food, Life and the Enduring Bond between Grandmothers and Granddaughters (2001)

What would you give for an afternoon in your grandmother’s kitchen? Leaning over the countertop, you watched as she added the flour, just a little at a time, to the bowl. It seemed like magic.

“Oy, Come All Ye Faithful”

The Ultimate Christmas: The Best Experts’ Advice for a Memorable Season with Stories and Photos of Holiday Magic (2008)

An entertaining, touching, and uplifting collection of true stories and awe-inspiring photographs of holiday magic, love, family — and a bit of mania.

and

Frankie and Bobby: Growing Up Zappa

I had the pleasure of working with rock icon Frank Zappa’s younger brother Bobby Zappa on this coming of age memoir, Frankie and Bobby: Growing Up Zappa. The book is full of rich stories that will stay with me always. It would be fun to go back and tell my teenage self that in 2015 I would have this wonderful opportunity to write about one of my favorite musicians.

Zappa

 

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ASJA2018

The American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) has announced their three track chairs for the annual New York City Writers Conference.

• Carolyn Crist
Beginning Track Manager, and Detailed Overseer

• Nancy Dunham
Mid-Career Track Manager and Volunteer Coordinator. She’s also ASJA’s new volunteer coordinator.

• Dorri Olds
Advanced Career Manager and nicknamed the “Social Media Guru” for the entire event.

SAVE THE DATE! May 18–19, 2018
ASJA’s 47th Annual Writers Conference

Note: The 2018 conference will be held at a new venue this year: Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel, 811 7th Avenue at West 53rd Street, New York City. The conference Members Day is May 18 and the Open Day is May 19.

I am excited to be taking this work on! My dad always said, “If you want something done, give it to the busiest person and they’ll get it done.” ASJA is filled with hard-working freelance writers who are accustomed to nutty deadlines and being adept at multi-tasking. I’m honored to be part of this amazing team led by ASJA president Sherry Beck Paprocki.

I am thrilled — absolutely gleeful — that my proposal for the conference theme has been chosen! It is based on the three tracks: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced levels.

The 2018 theme is:

Navigate, Motivate, Captivate

I will be serving as the Advanced Track chair. It is an honor to have been chosen. ASJA has helped me find success as a full-time freelance writer. I work in my home office with my beloved dog Buddy James at my feet. Thank you, ASJA! 

We Are Seeking Conference Panel Proposals • Deadline is Nov 10th

The NYC Conference’s theme for 2018 is Navigate, Motivate, Captivate. This year, we’re featuring three tracks for beginners, mid-career writers and advanced storytelling techniques.

We are currently soliciting proposals for panels and workshops that will inspire, motivate and empower journalists, nonfiction and literary nonfiction writers at all stages of their careers. Emphasis will be put on professional development as it relates to these three tracks of freelance writing, such as workshops on pitching, making new career moves, finding increased income, querying book agents, and publishing in all aspects such as books and magazines.

What We Are Looking For In a Session Proposal
We prefer workshops that focus on craft and those with a “how-to” aspect. We want single session leaders who are experts in their field and savvy in social media. We’re seeking panels that offer real service to our attendees. In particular, we’re looking for diversity in panelists — racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, sexual orientation, age, gender identity, marital and parental status.

If you’re interested in speaking, please complete this form.

Please note that we are unable to offer monetary compensation for travel or presenting. All participants must be available during the entire two days of the conference, May 18 and May 19, as scheduling will be at the discretion of the conference committee.

Deadline: November 10, 5:00 pm ET

 

Writers: If you are interested in joining ASJA…

Visit the Society’s website:

• About ASJA

• Who is Eligible to Join

• Member Benefits

And, if you do decide to join, please mention that you heard about ASJA from me! I’ll be much obliged.

Track Chair Bios

Carolyn Crist, a freelance journalist with stories that have appeared in AARP, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta Magazine, Anesthesiology News,  Reuters, Tales of the Cocktail, U.S. News & World Report and WIRED. She is also an adjunct journalism professor (of convergence journalism, photojournalism and travel writing) at the University of Georgia and co-owner of Pixel & Ink Studio in Athens, Georgia.

Nancy Dunham is a freelance writer whose clients include People magazine, AARP, Automotive News, USA Today, MoneyTalksNews/MSN, Woman’s World, A&E Real Crime blog and other national publications. Dunham was a newspaper reporter, magazine editor and publisher. She is also a founding board member of the Association of Healthcare Journalists and lives in Alexandria, Va.

Dorri Olds is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in book anthologies, newspapers and magazines including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Woman’s Day and The Forward. Her social media following includes over a million views on YouTube. As a full-time freelancer she divides her time between writing personal essays, pop culture articles, service pieces, movie reviews and interviewing A-List celebrities. She is currently working on a book about misogyny and rape culture.

“ASJA is so fortunate to have these prolific writers agree to work together to make this upcoming conference one of the most relevant conferences available to freelance writers and authors in the industry,” says ASJA President Sherry Beck Paprocki. “As ASJA moves to a new conference venue next spring, the tri-chairs promise to deliver important content for all writers—whether they are just starting out in the profession or they have long-time writing experience. We are looking forward to the months of planning that will create a must-attend conference next spring.”

 

Here is one of my personal ASJA Success Stories:
ASJA is so worth the cost of membership. Every year that I attend the annual conference in New York City, I make back much more money than I spent. Last year, during speed pitches, I met the lovely Woman’s Day editor, Maria Carter. We hit it off immediately. She has published three of my personal essays and is a dream to work with. Thank you, ASJA!

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Charles Manson

Charles Manson is dead at age 83. The news release issued by the California Department of Corrections said he died of natural causes in a hospital.

For me, the timing feels eerie because I just met Manson Family member, Dianne Lake, at a writers event in Manhattan. It was October 28, near Penn Station, inside the Hotel Pennsylvania. I was there for a speaking gig. After giving my talk on journalism in today’s media, and a Q&A afterwards, I headed for the elevator. After pressing the down arrow, I noticed two women beside me, also waiting. One had a hardcover book tucked under her arm. The cover photo of Charles Manson captured my gaze, as did the title, Member of the Family. I’ve been obsessed with true crime books since seventh grade when I discovered Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood and devoured it in two days.

Charles Manson
Member of the Family by Dianne Lake, the youngest member of the Charles Manson Family

Curious, I struck up a conversation. “I’ve read Helter Skelter three times,” I said with a smile. The woman who was holding the book turned out to be Lake’s co-author Deborah Herman. After introducing herself, Herman said, “Guess who this is.” She pointed to Lake and said “This is Dianne, the youngest member of the Manson family.”

I must’ve looked startled because Herman explained, “This is her story.” Then handed me the book.

Intrigued, I immediately read the subtitle: My Story of Charles Manson, Life Inside His Cult, and the Darkness That Ended the Sixties. Although eager to read the jacket, I didn’t want to be rude so I looked up and extended my free hand to Lake. Hesitatingly, as if in slo-motion, Lake took my hand and we shook. She offered a polite hello in almost a whisper. Her cautious manner and the way she looked me in the eyes for only a moment before her gaze darted away, gave me the impression she was either shy, tired, or at the very least, uncomfortable in the moment. A feeling came over me that she too was a rape survivor.

The cliche, “It takes one to know one,” proved true as I read her heart-wrenching account.

I don’t want to give any spoilers. I highly recommend this book.

Member of the Family: My Story of Charles Manson, Life Inside His Cult, and the Darkness That Ended the Sixties

by Dianne Lake and Deborah Herman

In Lake’s words: At age 14, I became one of Charles Manson’s Girls. At 17 I helped put him in prison. This is my story.

At fourteen Dianne Lake—with little more than a note in her pocket from her hippie parents granting her permission to leave them—became one of “Charlie’s girls,” a devoted acolyte of cult leader Charles Manson. In this poignant and disturbing memoir of lost innocence, coercion, survival, and healing, Dianne Lake chronicles her years with Charles Manson, revealing for the first time how she became the youngest member of his Family and offering new insights into one of the twentieth century’s most notorious criminals and life as one of his “girls.”

Over the course of two years, the impressionable teenager endured manipulation, psychological control, and physical abuse as the harsh realities and looming darkness of Charles Manson’s true nature revealed itself. From Spahn ranch and the group acid trips, to the Beatles’ White Album and Manson’s dangerous messiah-complex, Dianne tells the riveting story of the group’s descent into madness as she lived it.

Though she never participated in any of the group’s gruesome crimes and was purposely insulated from them, Dianne was arrested with the rest of the Manson Family, and eventually learned enough to join the prosecution’s case against them. With the help of good Samaritans, including the cop who first arrested her and later took her into his home, the courageous young woman eventually found redemption and grew up to lead an ordinary life.

While much has been written about Charles Manson, this riveting account from an actual Family member is a chilling portrait that recreates in vivid detail one of the most horrifying and fascinating chapters in modern American history.

Member of the Family includes 16 pages of photographs.

 

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bully

Bill made his typical peacock entrance. Whenever he walked through a doorway he automatically tilted his head to the right because of his height. Bill was 6’4” and barrel-chested with massive hands. I hated those hands.

I worked as an art director and Bill was my boss. It was a small company that made litigation graphics. Major law firms hired us to provide their attorneys with eight-foot-high charts to display during trials. The lawyers would point like Vanna White to charts for the jury to see from 20 feet away.

I said, “Good morning, Bill.”

The three graphic designers I shared the room with and the four from an adjoining room gathered round Bill to launch the morning ritual of stomach-turning sucking up.

“Bill, you look terrific. Great color for you,” Alicia said.

“How was your weekend with the family upstate?” Leo asked.

Big David starts in about football, “Did you catch the game, Bill?”

I just couldn’t stand it anymore, so I grabbed a stack of folders and headed off to the copy machine with my design layouts. Bill came into the narrow room and leaned against the door frame.

“Busy copying?” he asked.

“Yup,” I responded to the painfully obvious question.

Bill walked over and stood way too close. Without warning he leaned in, reached his hand down and yanked the seat of my cotton stretch pants.

“Baggy pants,” he said disapprovingly.

I whirled around and blurted out, “Don’t touch my pants,” and scurried out of the room.

“Why are you always so militant?” he called out after me.

I winced. My arms burned, my stomach churned, and I was sweating. Once back at my desk, I began putting the copied pages into their corresponding job folders. ‘Damn,’ I thought. The whole reason I wore the baggy pants was so he’d stop staring at my ass.

Every day I went home and combed the want ads in the Times, but I couldn’t find anything even close. I was making good money as a designer, had excellent dental and medical benefits, profit sharing, three weeks paid vacation and 12 paid sick days.

It seemed like it would be idiotic to quit. We worked on exciting highly publicized cases like a John Gotti trial, the Central Park jogger case and the Exxon Valdez oil spill. In many ways I loved the job. The work was fun and challenging. My co-workers and I liked to talk about movies and books, and I adored my supervisor, Leo, who shared my kooky sense of humor. But Bill … Bill was a sexist pig and a bully.

Another day Bill slithered up beside me. He was a foot taller than me, so when he put his arm around me as if he was my buddy sliding a hand around my waist, his hand brushed up against and rested on the lower part of my right breast due to our height difference. I felt sure that this “accidental” fondling was intentional. I froze. I wanted to kick myself later for not calling him on it. This was a man who insisted we attend his office pool party every summer. He had a large second home outside of the city. During my first pool party initiation he took me on a tour. Bill showed me the master bedroom and master bathroom. He pointed to the custom-made shower that had a ledge built in. He said, “That’s so my wife and I can do one of those things married people do.” He gestured with his hand to make it clear he was talking about a blow job. I was aghast. Every year after that I tried to figure out a way to skip the pool party. But the one time I did, he tortured me about it for a year.

One day my co-worker Sherri ran over to me, crying. She showed me her weekly time sheet, with a note in Bill’s handwriting. It said, “I’m very attracted to you.” Bill was 68 years old at the time. Sherri and I were both 26. He was married to his third wife. I felt like scrubbing the time sheet with hand wipes. “What should I do?” Sherri asked me, a worried look on her face.

I didn’t have the answer. For the past month I had been trying to organize the other six women at work to bond together so we could sue Bill for sexual harassment, or at least confront him. Not one of them would agree to help. I tried cajoling them. When that didn’t work I tried getting them as mad as I was, but they all seemed passive.

“How long do you want him to slither his hands across your boob when he’s pretending to hug you?” I asked. They accused me of being too dramatic. I accused them of being in denial.

Day after harassing day, Bill would walk up behind me as I sat at my desk. He would slide his huge meaty hands around my neck until his fingertips touched. It felt like a combination of him wanting to seduce me and strangle me. Each time it happened, I was rendered paralyzed and speechless. One day I’d had it and said, “Don’t touch me!”

That started an ongoing office humiliation that would last for the entire eight years I continued to work there. Bill would sneak up behind me, and he would start to put his hands around my neck but would stop less than an inch away. Then he would make sure that he had an audience and say in a mocking tone, “Oops! No touchy.” All of the brownnosers would give it a hearty laugh and the blood would rush up to my face and ears.

My friends and my feminist mom often demanded an explanation for why I wasn’t taking this man to court. Bill was brilliant; he knew a lot about the law, and he was rich and could afford much better lawyers than I could. I was afraid of being ripped apart on the stand as rape victims often are. I was reluctant to spend all of my meager savings on lawyers and afraid of being fired.

One day I returned from an approved day off. Bill blocked my way to my desk and used his deep, flirty voice, “Ms. Olds” — he always called me that — “please see me in my office immediately. And bring the layouts that are on your desk.” I did as he asked. He shut the door and said, “So, a day off? Are you in love?” I replied, “That’s not something I will discuss.” He slammed his fist down onto his desk, lurched towards me and demanded, “Why are you so combative? We are a family around here.”

My response was not to his liking. “Bill, I have a family. This is where I work. Let’s talk about the layouts.”

My friend Lorraine gave me an 11″ x 17″ sign that said “What part of NO don’t you understand?” She suggested that I put it on the bulletin board behind my desk. I did. I wanted to believe it would help, but only two co-workers ever mentioned it. Both were female.

Temps often worked the phones at the front desk. There was one large, sassy, redheaded Southern gal named Lucy. She pulled me aside one day, about three years after I had begun working at the firm, and said that I should know that the men doing the same job I was doing were paid more than I was. This was a tricky bit of information. How could I bring it up with Bill without betraying her confidence? When I had been hired full-time, Bill had assured me that I would receive periodic raises “without even having to ask for them.” This had never occurred. I decided to muscle up some courage and go in for a talk.

“Bill,” I started, “are you pleased with my work?”

“Oh yes,” he said.

“Am I being paid on the same scale as the men?”

“Of course not,” he said.

Did I hear him correctly?

“Ms. Olds, David has a wife and two daughters to support, and mortgage on a house to worry about. It simply would not be fair to pay him the same amount as you.”

I was dumbfounded. Speechless.

The following week I received a raise. Very smarmy way to get a raise, but I was glad to deposit the money.

One day, without my knowledge, Bill took a photo of me. I was leaning over my desk, deep in concentration, working on graphics for a chart. I was wearing an appropriate V-neck top, but at that angle, a hint of cleavage appeared. He passed the snapshot, a zoomed-in view of my breast area, around the office. Another time, when I had to fix chipped type on a chart in a hurry, I knelt down on the floor to quickly restore the chipped ‘H’ on the sign. Bill came through the doorway and said, “Ah, women — just how I like them, on their knees.”

I continued to look for a better job. I went on interviews. My father always warned me never to quit a job until I secured a better one. One November afternoon, Bill called me into his office and told me to close the door. He sat slumped, his brow was furrowed and the sides of his mouth were turned down. “As you know, business has been very slow this year. I am going to cut your salary by half. I’m sorry to give you this news, but I’ve always appreciated your loyalty and I know that you will stand by me during these tough times.” This came as a shock to me and so did my response: “In that case, Bill, I will not be working here any longer.”

It was as if I’d jumped out of a plane with no parachute and was in free fall. But the feeling was glorious and the risk paid off. I went into business for myself, which was terrifying at first. I had a mortgage to pay and monthly bills and feared using up the bit I’d managed to save. But within a month I got a full-time freelancing gig designing college textbooks and that year I made twice as much as I’d made working for Bill. I landed more and more creative jobs, web design and print work, and my writing took off.

It’s been years since I worked in an office. My desk is at home and my loyal dog likes my whistling. I make twice as much money and literally whistle while I work. And there is no longer a six-foot-four goon of a boss grabbing the back of my pants.

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Rape Survivor Stories and Learning How to Heal

Currently, I’m writing a book anthology that is part memoir and part self-help. Each chapter will tell a rape survivor’s story followed by assessments of things to work on based on the particulars of that story, followed by workbook exercises. Rape Trauma Syndrome (RTS) therapists will offer their expertise in order to help improve self-esteem
. When I finally told someone about the gang rape, I was able to receive help. Before that, I was filled with shame, embarrassment, rage, depression, and a zillion more overwhelming feelings.

The chilling fact is that at least 1 in 5 females in America will be sexually assaulted (source: RAINN.org). But, because so many women are afraid to tell, that figure may be closer to 1 in 3. This educational book will get the topic of rape out in the open in order to improve understanding and initiate conversations between parents, spouses, siblings, friends, teachers, and children of survivors.

Rape survivors are frequently too scared to tell anyone. They think, ‘Nobody will believe me,’or ‘It must’ve been my fault.’

The biggest problem with keeping rape a secret is that it will create severe psychological damage.

CLICK TO PLAY VIDEO

 

WHY

A few years ago, The New York Times published my personal essay: Defriending My Rapist. I wrote it after Facebook had suggested I friend one of my classmates who had gang-raped me when I was 13. At that age, I’d been too terrified to tell anyone and keeping secrets led me down a very dark path. The great news is that I finally told when I landed in a drug rehab at age 26. It was a long road from there to where I am now and I have done the most healing in the past few years. Going public was terrifying but surprisingly positive for me.

This project is to connect with those who have lived through similar nightmarish circumstances and it’s for the people that love them — parents, children, siblings, friends. My aim is to help survivors avoid the hell I went through, which could’ve been avoided if I had told and sought help. Now I speak openly about everything that happened.


HOW

I am interviewing rape victims who are willing to talk to me about their story. I am especially interested in hearing if rape survivors told anyone at the time. I care about their trauma and the tough days they’ve had to get through during the aftermath. And I want to hear each survivor’s story about where they are now.

Please contact me via Facebook, Twitter or Email if you would like your story included in the book. Pseudonyms are fine and no identifying details will be revealed.

 

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THE AFTERMATH

As a traumatized teen, I used magical thinking: “If I erase the rape from my mind, then it never really happened.”  When that “solution” failed, it led me through years of Rape Trauma Syndrome (RTS).  (Something I knew nothing about until recently.)


RTS  SYMPTOMS  INCLUDE:

Minimization
Suppression
Dissociation
Nightmares
Flashbacks
High Anxiety
Panic Attacks
Depression
Crying jags
Confusion
Shame
Fear
Rage
PTSD
Self-Blame
Self-Loathing
Hopelessness
Extreme Mood Swings
Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Suicidal Ideation and Attempts
Frequent Moves to Escape Memories
Acute Sensitivity to Other People’s Opinions
Inability to Form Intimate Romantic Relationships

MOTIVATION

Since my essay was published in The New York Times, thousands of people have reached out to me. It is shocking—and terribly disturbing—how many people in America have been sexually assaulted.


STAMP OUT STIGMA

We live in a misogynist culture that shames and blames victims. Rapists only get a slap on the wrist or no punishment at all.  We feel screwed all over again by the legal system. So many of us never report what we’ve been through. The more we share our stories, the stronger we will be together. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Dorri Olds, depressed and an addict 3 years post-rape.


FIND YOUR VOICE

I have become a frequent speaker about rape, PTSD and addiction and have been a guest on television and radio shows, including Dr. Drew.  My essay became required reading in a Victimology course at CUNY’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice. I speak there every semester, and at writers conferences, schools, and various events through RAINN.org. The more I talk about it, the more I heal. Finding your voice is the key to recovering.


I have written hundreds of articles for a wide assortment of publications, including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Woman’s Day , The Establishment , ROAR, The Fix, Forward, Yahoo and Tablet, and my short stories appear in 7 book anthologies including the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

WHY NOW and WHY ME

Thousands of strangers have contacted me, begging me to write a book on this topic—they include rape victims, parents and children of victims, social workers, mental health professionals, substance abusers, suicide attempt survivors and many more.

So why this campaign? Because as a self-employed freelance writer who volunteers to help others, I do not have enough funds to take time away from working 12–15 hours a day (scrambling to pitch editors, land assignments, and write articles). After years of trying , I have found that I cannot get my bills paid AND give this book the time and attention it needs. Thank you to anyone who can donate and/or spread the word by sharing this link .

 

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