Yoga, meditation, knitting, healthy meals, and writing workshops — divorcée Amy Koko, who wrote a memoir, There's Been A Change of Plans: Divorce, Dating & Delinquents in Mid-life, is offering that and more to help other women who are going through a divorce. Amy was married for 20 years; her marriage suddenly ended when her husband came clean about an affair he'd been having. They share four kids together.
She said writing helped save her from despair and depression, and wants other women to try writing their feelings down at the three-day "Write Your Divorce Story" retreat in Bradenton, Fla., on February 21-24.
Koko told Personal Space that her divorce "continued to haunt" her for a very long time after it was finalized.
"Divorce is just like that, right? Just when I thought I was moving forward, maybe flapping a new sheet over my new unmarried bed, excited to begin sleeping as a single person, a memory would come up, knocking me a few steps back," she says. "Or when I looked at my bank statement at the end of the month and remembered why it was so very tiny. How, I wondered, can I finally let it go?"
She began writing, and writing, and the experiences that kept reappearing became stories to share with others who were going through what she went through. Her writing turned into a blog called Exwifenewlife.
"After a year or so, I realized there was a book there; I’m not saying you need to write a book to get through your divorce, but I am saying that writing about my divorce was the key to finally letting it go," Koko explained. "Now I want to help other women begin that journey, whether they want to write their own memoir, short story or just gain clarity on their experience."
Along with her friend and fellow author Rebecca Gold, Koko designed the long weekend retreat that will help women writers find their own unique way of telling their story through writing workshops. There will also be daily gentle yoga and meditation and knitting lessons to get the creative juices flowing.
"There will also be time for sharing our work, for anyone who cares to do so," Koko said. "If no one cares to do so, I will share my past work starting with the story about fish having a party that I wrote in third grade. We will go from there."
Ultimately, Koko joked, the women can spend a few days in the Florida sunshine with "no men, no divorce lawyers, no kids, and no calories in any of the food we serve."
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