The memoir, she hoped, would be for other survivors what she desperately wished she had during her recovery — something that told her there was hope for a better future. She started writing in 2003.
“I really got serious about the book in like 2006 or 2007 and I thought I really wanted to do it,” she says, “But then I discovered that there were the seeds to this organization, Finding Our Voices, in 2007, and so I became active in that. ... So I put my book on hold until the organization could get legs.”
Finding Our Voices, a local nonprofit, promotes healing from sexual assault and trauma through art therapy. Workshops held at Cottonwood Center for the Arts give survivors and their allies an opportunity to work through their recovery on paper, and an annual art show gives them space to showcase their work and start a conversation with the community.
MavaJoyce is proud of founding Finding Our Voices, but now that the organization is on solid ground she’s glad to have returned to her memoir, Beyond Aftershocks: Reclaiming Self after Sexual Trauma, which will officially launch on Oct. 20.
Though MavaJoyce says the memoir does not give advice, necessarily, it walks through the steps she took on her own path to recovery in a way that she hopes will help survivors of all kinds of trauma, not just sexual, find their own way forward.
“I hope that reading my book will convince other survivors that keeping the secret is not the best way to handle it,” she says. “Because that's what our culture tells us: 'Shut up and put up and get on with your life.’ But the truth is, if you deal with your trauma, then you can really get on with your life. You know, I'm almost 80 years old … and I don't care who knows how old I am. But I want them to also know that if they knew me 30 years ago, I looked 80 and I felt 80. But after I did my work, I began to get younger — feeling, acting and looking — because I was no longer burdened by a deep dark secret.”
Join MavaJoyce for a reception at Cottonwood Center for the Arts, 427 E. Colorado Ave., on Oct. 20, 2-4 p.m., where she will be signing copies of the book.