I *love* doing discussion groups and cannot wait to take part in this virtual chat. All are welcome! You can purchase copies of Leaving Dorian (paperback and ebook) at http://www.amazon.com/author/lindadynel
My public appearances have been extremely limited over the past eighteen months due to COVID, so if you’ve read Leaving Dorian and have always wanted to *Meet the Author* or ask a question, this is a great opportunity to connect “in person”!
Though Spring semester ended well before it was supposed to thanks to COVID19, I was busier than ever! I was so fortunate to be invited to work more than a dozen dates with The Erie County DV High Risk Team at Spectrum Mental Health Services, Best Self Behavioral, as well as for Assigned Counsel with the Erie County Court System. I also started working with The University at Buffalo Law School, and of course made my way out *very* early one morning to speak with Health classes at Hamburg High School 🙂 The most disappointing part of the semester was not being able to complete all of the dates scheduled. Hilbert College was cancelled completely, as was my trip out to Western Michigan University Even my Skype session with students at Loyola University at New Orleans ended up needing to be cancelled. On the upside, we all figured out how to conduct really productive Zoom meetings and I even got to meet Sunny the Therapy Dog!
One perk to COVID19? I suddenly have plenty of time to work on my new book, the sequel to Leaving Dorian. I’ve also decided to do an audio book, of sorts. It will be *free* and will be made available within the next couple of weeks. The formal announcement for that will be posted on all of my social media Monday, March 30.
There’s always a silver lining, ladies and gentlemen; you just need to be willing to look for it. Or as Dolly is fond of saying, “You don’t get the rainbow without a little rain.”
At the end of the summer, I thought, “Well, it might be time to update my head shots…” I’d grown in my gray AND my 80’s bangs (finally) Good thing I did; turned out that my <Domestic Violence Awareness Month> would last 16 weeks …
September 12 & 13 * Hobart & William Smith Colleges
September 18 * Niagara University, Dr. Dana Radatz, “Domestic Violence” Class
October 9 * University at Buffalo, Dr. Chris St Vil, “Theory of Human Behavior & Development”
October 18 * CAPPA Theatre, Robert H. Jackson Center, Jamestown, Judicial Conference
October 24 * Woodclif Hotel, Rochester, Judicial Conference
October 28 * Buffalo Historic Courthouse, Judicial Conference
October 29 * University at Buffalo, Dr. Rob Keefe, SW 505
November 3 * St. John the Baptist RC Church, RCIA Program, Teen Dating Violence Program
November 12 * University at Buffalo, Dr. Noelle St. Vil, SW 505
November 13 * Hamburg HS, 9/10 grade Health Classes, Teen Dating Violence Program
November 14 & 18 * ECC Law Enforcement Academy w/the Erie County DV High Risk Team, Continuing Education for Sworn Officers
November 21 * Global Concepts HS, GLOW Program, Teen Dating Violence Program
December 18 * NC Law Enforcement Academy, 73rd Class
December 19 * Buffalo Family Courthouse w/Erie County DV High Risk Team, DV Program for Assigned Counsel
I also signed on with the @ncadv Speaker’s Bureau and finished out the final six months of the Peer Mentoring/DV Program sponsored by the Niagara County Victims Assistance Unit in the Niagara County jail. To top off my very long semester and to celebrate the season, I decorated my first “Period Tree” – <Just Say “NO!” to Period Shaming!>
Looking forward to a far less busy Spring Semester and to finally getting the first draft of the new book into the hands of my First Readers by the end of March. Say a prayer for me, folks; editing is the worst 😦
Fully immersed in writing book No.3, here’s what I did from February to early June in between looking at old photos, reading old journals, scratching out timelines, writing chapters, half chapters, one liners that would eventually *be* chapters, editing, writing some more, deleting whole chunks of text, re-writing, re-writing, re-writing 😉 Grateful for each and every opportunity …
After school seminar at Wilson HS for Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Fantastic kids and great questions!
Skyping Dr. Danielle Slakoff’s “Domestic Violence” class at Loyola University New Orleans. Dr. Slakoff is a skilled facilitator which made working with this large group of students easy. What a fun couple of hours 🙂
*Lunch ‘N Learn* hosted by The Family Violence Intervention Project, sponsored by The Niagara County Sheriff Dept. Victim Assistance Unit – “Surviving Life AFTER DV: It Is Possible!” at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.
Interview with Claudine Ewing, Channel 2 News. Topics ranged from why I decided to write “Leaving Dorian” to the proper verbiage one ought to use when speaking about abuse. I think we sat and talked for maybe … forty-five minutes …? Remainder of interview will be aired at a later date. Thankful for that unique and important opportunity. Most fun moment was doing extra footage with the cameraman on the exterior grounds. Thank you, Cameraman Bob, for your kind words and for helping to make that weird extra segment less awkward!
Teen Dating Violence Awareness classes for 9/10 graders at Hamburg HS. Hamburg, NY, played an important role in my survivor story, so being able to give back to the community by spending the day working with their kids is something that I’m always happy to do.
71st class, Niagara County Law Enforcement Academy. It’s interesting to work with LE students because the nuggets that they focus on from “Leaving Dorian” are very different than any other group of students that I work with. This group was also genuinely curious, extremely compassionate, and particularly eager to learn about DV and related topics. A joy to work with.
Staff Development program at Mt. St. Mary’s Hospital in Lewiston, NY. ### Mt. St. Mary’s is part of the Western New York Catholic Health System, so there were Sisters in attendance. ### I’m well aware that Religious work at the hospital doing a variety of jobs. I *should have known* that there would be Religious in attendance … and yet … I didn’t even consider it. ***Sigh*** At various times during my presentation, I repeat off color words that were spoken to me Awkward But the Sisters took it all in stride, as did the entirety of the staff 🙂 I was happy to have everyone from administrators to nurses (still in their surgical scrubs!) in attendance, as well as reps from Neighborhood Legal Services in Buffalo and UB School of Social Work.
Working with the Niagara County Sheriff’s Victims Assistance Unit inside the Niagara County jail, women’s facility. Half peer mentoring, half book club, the program involves an advocate and I going in and chatting with the women about tackling life after surviving domestic violence.
I had a podium for this one 🙂 Woohoo!! I love it when I’m not just thrown into a room with a bunch of people, kinda just hangin’ out up there … notes in hand Seriously, though, it was a small but important event and I was honored to be asked to speak.
Making the paper (or two) is always interesting, because you can never be sure how the photos will turn out. I’ve been doing this long enough now that I feel comfortable speaking up if I’m unsure or uncomfortable with how a shot is being composed. When I asked veteran photographer Jim Neiss if he *really* thought that someone who wrote a book about being a victim should be standing in what looks like a power position while everyone else is sitting (including the Sheriff… which made me even MORE uncomfortable), he looked at me with a totally straight face and said, “I get the feeling you’re no shrinking flower… ” and continued to compose the shot. Well! *blush* Of course he was spot on, and the picture looked great 🙂 Thanks, Jim!
On Saturday, April 7, I spoke at the “Dress for What’s Next” event at the University at Buffalo School of Law. This free, all day event for survivors of domestic violence was put on by an all-volunteer team of UB Law School students. Daycare and lunch were provided for women and their children and there was even a therapy dog on site 🖤 Meditation and self-defense classes were offered, support and referral information was provided and there was even an opportunity for the ladies to do a little “gently used” clothes shopping👗👠👜 Impressive from beginning to end and I was absolutely honored to be asked to be a part of it!
“Purple is our color”
Clothes Closet. Women could “shop” for business ans casual clothes. This is an incredibly important opportunity, as there are times that women lee an unsafe home with only the clothes on their backs. It’s also a fantastic way for them to access nearly new business attire. They will look great and feel confident when they venture out into the job market!
Beautifully decorated for the ladies luncheon!
Explaining the years of nonsense and difficulties I went through AFTER my divorce.
Talking about the GIANT microwave I was gifted from a dear friend when I rented my first apartment after my divorce.
“Leaving Dorian” is used as required text by the Niagara County Law Enforcement Academy at Niagara University. Just like with any college level course, once the students read the book, I go in and spend a couple of hours answering their questions and fielding comments.
I was happy to be invited to stay and watch the recruits of the 68th Police Academy run through some DV role play.
Yes, it was “pretend”, but it was still unnerving to watch.
The ladies of the Niagara County Sheriff’s Victim’s Assistance Unit were fantastic in acting out real life scenarios that the recruits will definitely be facing once they’re sworn and out in the field.
There were points that I could feel myself wanting to cry. Silly, right? Nope, not when you’re sitting there and you realize what these recruits are actually signing up for.
After watching those two hours of role play, I have an entirely different perspective on the unique position that officers are in every day. I will never forget this group.
I submitted it as an op-ed but ended up with a feature spot. Nice!
Spent a lengthy lunch hour talking DV and related topics with attorneys and advocates. These ladies (and one gentleman) had great questions and were a lot of fun to work with.
April is my anniversary month; eighteen years ago in April, I escaped my abusive husband. Spending the day in Hamburg (the town that I ran away to) delivering Dating Abuse Awareness classes to 9/10 grade and college credit Health classes at Hamburg High School was amazing. A full circle moment for me, to be sure!
Though I’ve done public presentations before, this will be my first in the Niagara Region! Please join me for this free event. Q & A and book signing to follow – bring your copy of Leaving Dorian or purchase a paperback copy at the event! ($20 – cash only, please)
If I could use only one word to describe this semester, it would be “busy”!
Opportunities like this don’t come along every day and I was thrilled to be able to accept the offer to speak. Every person in that room was a “Change-Maker”: Women and men in law enforcement, education, intervention and health care. The level of education, experience and raw knowledge in the room was dizzying. Fantastic experience!
Dr. Dana Radatz’ Victimology class at Niagara University. The most frequent comment on their evals? “Ms. Dynel wasn’t what I expected…” Nice! It’s important to challenge stereotypes, and re-evaluating our perceptions of even the most basic concepts is a good place to start 🙂
I picked up two new professors at the University of Buffalo this semester – Dr. Chris St. Vil and Dr. Robert Keefe, both with the School of Social Work.
UB North was difficult to navigate when I attended thirty years ago and it’s just as confusing now. Even after an extremely comprehensive tour from Dr. Chris St. Vil, who I assured that, “… OF COURSE I’ll remember how to get to the classroom…” I did, indeed, get lost. Twice.
Dr. St. Vil’s students filling out evals. Their most frequently commented take-away? “Ms. Dynel’s level of honesty; she made me think differently about what it’s like for a victim once they leave their abusers.”
Happy to be asked back once again this year by Dr. Noelle St. Vil (also with UB School of SW)
This group wasn’t shy in the least! We covered everything from the role that religion played in my healing after my divorce to questions about intimacy issues – no stone was left unturned!
My job is sometimes listed as “speaker”. Other times it’s “advocate”. I guess what I actually am is “truth-teller”, which is fine when I’m speaking about my own experience but much more difficult when someone in the group asks me to help clarify their experience. When a student tells me that her long time friend was killed by her boyfriend and that his defense in court was that he was out of his mind with jealousy? I’ll never forget her; she sat there, lower lip quivering, “…but, that doesn’t seem right, ya know… ? I mean… that he just snapped…?” To have to be the one to look that young woman in the eye and tell her that there is no such thing as a “crime of passion”? That it’s simply an excuse? To have to be the one tell her, in front of a group of her peers, that all violence is a choice and that he killed her friend on purpose because he could not bear losing his control over her? There is nothing tougher than that.
Closing remarks for “Surviving … Thriving: A Journey of Healing Through Art” at the Castellani Art Museum, Niagara University .
I was so invested in the conversation with Dr. Angie Moe’s Family Violence class that I forgot to take a picture of the screen while we were chatting. So … here’s my Skype profile pic (Lame, I know ) Working with Dr. Moe is always fun – she moves the computer so that I can see the whole class and is great at helping me to pick out particular students for questions. I always look forward to Skype Tag-Teaming with her!
I picked up two new educational institutions this semester, as well! The First … NCLEA will be using “Leaving Dorian” as a required text for all new recruits, as well as in their Continuing Education block for currently hired, sworn officers.
The Second … I will be working with Professor Eryn O’Neal’s “Gender and Crime” class at Sam Houston University next semester!
One of the best parts of making a book donation is getting to meet and network with awesome ladies like Phuong Brady, Shelter Supervisor and Rebecca Coleman, DV Counselor, both with Haven House. These gifted copies of “Leaving Dorian” will be used in training seminars with staff as well as in counseling programs with clients.
Being invited to tour Passage House, Niagara County’s secure woman’s shelter, topped off this busy semester. I can tell you that there is no more humbling experience than to walk among women who are devoting their lives to *literally* saving others. Give to your local safe house, woman’s shelter, transitional housing and give all year long. Don’t wait for the holidays to remember that there are women (in every community) who are fighting to reclaim their lives. Donate food, gently used and new clothing, bedding and furniture. Donate food and toiletries. Donate your time, if your local shelter allows that option. But most of all, donate FUNDS. Women and children matter, and we ought to be making their safety and well-being a priority at all times, not just during the Season of Giving.