An epiphany in midlife convinced Sherry to shake up her life. She embarked on her 52/52 Project: 52 weekly projects outside her comfort zone. And published a book about her adventures!
Rare Bird Books recently published your book, Love in the Time of Chronic Illness: How to Fight the Sickness―Not Each Other. What led you to write this book?
My co-author, Roanne Weisman, and I wrote Love in the Time of Chronic Illness because we were both the ill partners in our relationships, and we were both stunned by how deeply our conditions affected our relationships with our partners and how important that relationship was to our eventual recovery. There were no resources out there to help us understand the impact of illness on our relationship or what we could do to grow stronger, together.
When her husband, at 55, decided he was burned out at work and wanted to go overseas to work for Peace Corps, Joyce chose to join him on his placements abroad as a “trailing spouse.” She recounts her struggle with uprooting her home and career in midlife, not to mention her change in identity, in her new book: Outside My Skin: My Midlife Detour as a Trailing Spouse in Ghana.
One of your areas of expertise is journaling. What are the benefits of journal writing?
I learned about the benefits of journal writing early on. I credit journal writing for helping me through a difficult childhood because it let me voice my inner-most thoughts and emotions at times when I rarely felt heard. My journal continually served as trusted friend, always there to let me express myself confidentially and without judgment. Writing down my frustrations felt cathartic and enabled me to organize my thoughts.
You have just released your newest book, Are You Still Kidding Me? What was the inspiration for this collection of 45 stories?
My family is my biggest inspiration for writing Are You Still Kidding Me? It’s my heartwarming sequel to #1 Amazon bestseller Are You Kidding Me? My Life with an Extremely Loud Family, Bathroom Calamities, and Crazy Relatives. It tackles the foibles of modern family life—from toddlers and teens to empty nesters—with wry wit and plenty of humor.
As my kids started to grow up and out, I filled the void with writing. I bundled up all my frustrations and oozed them out onto paper, one pain-in-the-ass problem at a time, and it felt good. When I share my work, people laugh and can relate to my humorous take on kids, husbands, parents, and everything in between.