Welcome to Episode 7 of the Creative Disruption season of The 21st Century Creative, where we are hearing stories of creatives around the world who came up with a creative response to the challenges of the pandemic.
Today we’re focusing on a creative sector that is close to my heart, which was massively disrupted but didn’t get quite the level of coverage that others did. And that’s the field of personal development and learning.
And I’m delighted to welcome a guest, Laura Davis, who is something of a legend in the field of therapy and healing.
Laura's latest book is The Burning Light of Two Stars, a really powerful memoir about her relationship with her mother, how that was disrupted by Laura’s writings and how they took steps to make peace with one another.
In the first part of the show, I argue that all arts are performing arts – even if it’s just you sitting alone in your office or studio. So we need to show up accordingly!
Photo by Jace Ritchey
Laura Davis is an author and teacher who writes books that change people’s lives.
Her first book, The Courage to Heal, which she co-authored with the poet Ellen Bass, came out in the eighties and it was the first book to give survivors of sexual abuse a pathway to the healing process.
Laura’s books have been translated into 11 languages and sold millions of copies. She is also a very experienced teacher who has been helping other writers find their voice and tell their stories at classes and retreats for many years.
And when the pandemic struck in 2020 she had to cancel all her retreats for the year, leaving her with the question: what next?
The obvious answer was virtual teaching. But Laura had always resisted this idea – she thought it was fine for teaching information or skills-based learning. But for the kind of deep personal transformation she facilitates, she’d always said it just wouldn’t be the same.
In this interview you’ll hear how she challenged her own beliefs and stepped out of her comfort zone to take her work online. So if you do any kind of teaching or coaching or facilitation, this interview is essential listening.
Laura also talks about her new memoir, The Burning Light of Two Stars: A Mother-Daughter Story the story of her embattled relationship with her mother, the rift in their relationship after the publication of The Courage to Heal, and the dramatic and surprising collision course they ended up on at the end of her mother’s life.
Before I spoke to Laura I read The Burning Light of Two Stars and I found it compelling reading, on several levels. I said to her, there are some books you read and others you experience, and this is definitely one of the latter! It’s an extraordinary account of love in the face of abuse and pain, and also demonstrates great artistic skill in the storytelling.
You can read the opening chapters of The Burning Light of Two Stars here.
And you can find out more about the book and where to buy it here.
Laura is now back to teaching in-person retreats again, as well as online classes – you can learn about all of thes at her website LauraDavis.net – including a transformative writing retreat in Tuscany.
Laura Davis interview transcript
MARK: Laura, you’ve been a columnist, a talk show host, a radio news reporter, and now a bestselling author and teacher. Is there a common thread in all of these different roles?
LAURA: Yes, there is. On my website, I have a little tagline. It says, ‘Healing words that change lives.’ I really do see that as the umbrella for everything that I’ve done. For instance, I’ve spent the last 25 years as a writing teacher in many, many different kinds of settings, but for me,