Susan Joyce - Living Life to the Fullest
Susan Joyce is an exceptional woman and creative author whose life story reads like riveting fiction. She has done it all - travelled the world, lived in several countries, experienced a war up close and personal and lived to tell her story. Today, Joyce chats with us about culture shocks, how she discovered after nine years of marriage that her husband wasn't who he pretended to be and how dreams serve her in life.
Please give us a short introduction to Lullaby Illusion
The Lullaby Illusion is my personal journey: a story about life, loss, and facing those things beyond which we have no control – and figuring out which ones we do. It traces a twelve-year period in my life when my tranquil existence in Cyprus is suddenly blown up, figuratively, but also literally, by war. The experience of coping with, surviving, and then escaping for safer ground plays out in interesting parallel with other traumatic events – namely, the loss of a baby after multiple miscarriages, as well as the revelation that my husband is not who I believes him to be. My vivid dream life, as well as my artistic spirit, guide me through these times of distress to a brighter and fulfilled life.
You used to write Children's books. What made you decide that it's time to write a memoir?
I still write and edit books for children. I decided to write about my extraordinary life in hopes of explaining it to myself. I needed to know why so many bizarre events kept happening around me. According to astrologers who have read my birth chart—it's because of the placement of stars and planets. The time was right for me to question why. Believing that my ex-husband led a secret life, I didn't feel free to share my discoveries until his death in 2008.
Have you always dreamt of traveling the world?
Yes! My great-aunt was a world traveller and sent picture postcards to me when I was quite young. I would place the postcard over my heart before going to sleep at night and imagine it as my magic carpet, and off we would fly to the exotic places Aunt Gladys had visited.
You have had some very profound experiences in your life, yet the book also contains a lot of humor. Why did you pick this approach?
Because in real life, finding humor in a serious situation helps relieve tension and helped me cope with a seemingly hopeless circumstance.
Did you experience a bit of a culture shock when you first left the U.S.?
Big time! The first country I lived in was Israel and I was shocked to learn that Israelis don't eat bagels. They had never heard of them. Silly me. I thought all Jews ate bagels. Also when I first begin traveling, I had to adjust to drinking tea instead of coffee for breakfast. Probably the biggest shock was knowing that I stood out as a foreigner. I was different—I was in the minority.
Did you plan to live in Europe for so many years?
No plans to stay anywhere for a specific length of time. It just happened. I stayed there until my inner voice said it was time to move on.
How different was the world and the politic scene then from now?
Back in the day, as an American, it was easy to find work the world over with international companies or the US Military. In today's world it's more difficult, but not impossible. Political scenes seem more bizarre than ever, but coups and wars seem to be the way the world turns as countries move from relative tranquility into volatile situations and eruptions. Sad to see.
How long had you been married when you first started to suspect your husband is a spy?
I first questioned my husband's activities while living in Cyprus. We had been married for nine years. My vivid dreams and visions showed me that he was living a secret life.
Your memoir reads a lot like fiction - how did you pull that off?
Narrative non-fiction is easier to reconstruct if one keeps journals and notes of events. I have kept dream and travel journals for many years. Research helped verify my story as well as letters from friends who also experienced the events. They were my fact-checkers. All were helpful to assure me of the accuracy of each scene.
Is there something that compels you to write? That helps you to get some clarity about yourself or ideas you have been struggling with?
My curiosity! I've always been a creative, curious soul. Eager to know what makes me and others tick. Excited to explore the unknown and learn all there is to learn on subjects that interest me.
Tell us a bit about the title. Why " Lullaby Illusion"?
The title came to me in a dream while I was visiting the Isle of Capri with a friend who was attending a psychology conference there. Her dream in life was to have a child before her biological clock stopped ticking and she was in search of “Mr Perfect” to impregnate her. I was there to sketch ideas for an upcoming art exhibit. After losing a child in Cyprus and watching my marriage crumble, I figured if I was meant to be a mother, it would happen. She was convinced without a child to look after her in her later years, she would be lonely and have regrets. After all I had gone through, I knew that one can be married, have children, and still be lonely. Or not! Making a child responsible for my happiness seemed senseless. A Lullaby Illusion is where we rock ourselves into a sleep state and don't face reality. I was determined to face my reality.
Your dreams seem to play a very important role in your book. How have dreams served you in life?
Dreams guide me. They show me my deepest truths and teach me what is important to learn and pay attention to along life's way.
Was it hard for you to share such intimate details of your life with the world?
Sharing intimate details of my life has helped me heal. Hopefully, my story of struggle and resilience will help others in similar situations.
What are you working on right now? When can we expect to see Book 2?
Good Morning Diego Garcia: A Journey of Discovery is Book 2 in my series was released in February 2016. It details my journey from Ojai California to India, and on to Sri Lanka where I board a yacht with Charles (my ex) and journey across the Indian Ocean in monsoon season. Without charts! Facing continual battering of horrendous storms, I confront the elements, extraordinary spiritual moments, and catch glimpses into an alternative reality— evidence that nothing is as it seems.
At present I am working on a book about soul connections. My husband Doug and I met at a party in Germany years ago. My aunt, who was visiting me at the time introduced us and later told me he would be perfect for me. A few months later, when we met and shared important life events, we realized that the universe had a plan for us to meet and work together creatively. As our relationship unfolded in serendipitous and awesome ways, we knew we were connected souls. Stay tuned.
Where can our readers interact with you or discover more of your work?
I'd love to hear from you on my author site: http://susanjoycejourneys.com/ or on my FB site: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSusanJoyce/?fref=ts