As a possibility artist, and a certified creativity and life alchemy coach, one of the greatest joys in my work with clients is that magical moment when the dots connect – when a highly-creative and talented woman owns her brilliance.
This is exactly what happened with former client, Marta Luzim – when she claimed her genius work and birthed “Writing Like a Madwoman.”
This signature body of work encapsulates Marta’s life journey and her innate gifts and talents in the most beautiful of ways, as she helps other women claim their inner madwoman through the art of deep writing and the excavation of their complex personal stories.
It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to a woman who has inspired the vulnerability in my own storytelling – by bringing to light the magic of stories that are created from depth, complexity, and truth.
Perhaps this dialogue will inspire that wild voice within you – that’s wanting to be heard and better understood.
Tell me more about the title of your work, Writing Like a Madwoman – how did that come about?
I felt the Madwoman’s rattling bones in the womb.
My mother was a borderline, a rageaholic, and an abuser. She was beautiful, creative, and ambitious. Her pain was so fierce it pierced my soul. At the same time an untamed, emotional creativity roared through me. My mother’s madness became my madness. By age sixteen, I was aware that my life’s work was to heal my female lineage.
At age seventeen I entered into Jungian therapy.
My journey to unfreeze my mother’s mad blood in my veins conjured up a new language- words formed through bleeding skin, a broken heart and a starving soul. This was possible by surrendering to a wild and creative force that shook up my psyche to tell my story that revealed a larger universal story.
Years of digging into my neurosis, fragmentation, trauma and abuse ignited an obsession to gather wisdom and knowledge to find peace with this madness. My journey awakened me to an ancient divine female madness.
I discovered the Madwoman archetypes in Linda Leonard’s Meeting the Madwoman in 1994. Clarissa Estes coined her the “Wild Woman” in Woman Who run with Wolves. Other influences were Marion Woodman’s Pregnant Virgin, Savina Teubal’s Sarah the Priestess, and Maureen Murdock’s The Heroines Journey.
These authors excavated the Madwoman and her psychological, historical, biblical, creative, sexual and spiritual truth.
To silence a woman’s story annihilates the genius of the Madwoman.
Writing like a Madwoman builds a sacred home for women to write, express and tell their story without fear of rejection, judgment or shame.
How did the stories of others play a role in shaping this body of work?
The stories started in my career as an elementary school teacher. The students I taught were labeled “slow learners and problem children.” Most of these students were traumatized. One student’s father was in jail. Another’s mother was an alcoholic. Another, his father abandoned the family, a molestation, druggie mother and so on.
I identified with the students struggle to focus and learn. My teachers said, I wasn’t living up to my potential, even though I had skipped from second to fourth grade. I wrote and drew to escape the pressure from my home and school.
I encouraged my students to express. I created a classroom environment for them to write, paint and academically focus through creative learning techniques. The principal asked how I had successfully improved class behavior and grades. I responded, “By teaching children to love themselves.”
I left teaching and started a Psychospiritual practice. My clients loved that I didn’t judge their “crazy.” More stories revealed: childhood rape, sexual harassment, domestic violence, abandonment, divorce, addiction, and mental illness; hundreds of untold stories lived in me.
In 2000, I wrote a play, Breathing under Water and Vows of Love. A novel, The Calling. Now, I am writing a memoir. All written to tell women’s stories.
A writer/client might drop into flight, fright or freeze as frozen memories and feelings surface. Writing like a Madwoman holds the messy, juicy pain to write gritty and gutsy stories. To break the silence and heal the shame.
How does journal writing factor into “writing like a madwoman?” How does it benefit the transformational writing process?
Journal writing is the starting point for transformational writing. James Pennebaker, a researcher at the University of Texas at Austin, shows in his study “Writing to Heal: A Guided Journal for Recovering from Trauma and Emotional Upheaval,” that writing with deep feeling improves immune system function, decreases stress, lowers blood pressure, and increases positive short and long-term mood changes.”
Current brain research indicates that writing, a right-brain activity, influences healing and self-understanding.
Memoir and personal journal writing is a process of transformational writing. It awakens the psyche and ignites deep feelings, memories and storytelling. It creates a foundation of permission and self-acceptance for self-expression. There are no rules, steps or have-to’s in journal writing, only your voice, experience and desire to know theyself.
I have been journal writing for forty years. It has been my savior: a place to be free and uncensored to release my voice and heal my life. Journal writing, or free writing, bypasses the critic, judge and jury and takes you to unexpected places within.
To journal your life, to write as a sacred act, a creative act, an emotional expression, and an act to heal is where Writing like A Madwoman becomes your guide and transformer.
You’re a gifted storyteller, weaving your own story into the lessons of the course and synchronizing it with the various writing prompts. What was it about your own story – that needed to be told? And how does it serve as a good example for others who are just beginning to tell their stories?
At 16, my grandmother, Sarah, escaped the Russian pogroms and came to America. The rest of my grandmother’s family I assumed died in the Holocaust. She never spoke of them. They had no face, voice, presence or story in my life
Sarah was a fierce, cold, survivor with a cold heart and hand toward her daughters. My mother grew up in her unspoken abuse, grief, rage and fear, and then handed this legacy to me.
As a child I had an out-of-body experience when my mother held a knife to my throat. It left me internally bleeding, wired up like a knot and scattered like shards of glass. It also awakened a mysterious inner guidance with no name, lots of guts and a gift for storytelling and healing.
A burning story to tell. A complicated story. A mad story. A universal story.
Painstakingly I sought language to interpret and navigate my story. My experience is a powerful guide to midwifing others women’s stories that have been silenced. I appeal to those who are fierce, have depth rich with emotion, and are intensely complicated.
I have felt like an outcast, a healer-witch of sorts. A flawed human with a big story. I can lead others through the dark with psychic wisdom, academic knowledge and personal authority of the writing- healing process.
Was there a defining moment in your journey when you just knew this body of work needed to be created?
In, 2011, I created a non-profit, organization, Give Her Voice. A theatrical, multi-media presentation that enacted women’s raw, gritty stories of abuse and recovery, called the Telling. Thirty five years of woman’s stories were bubbling in my belly, including mine.
I began working with Tina in 2015. At the time I was struggling with a deep personal and professional transition. I knew it was time to integrate my work as a therapist, writer, artist, intuitive and women’s advocate with my personal story.
Tina sparked me to “muster” up all of my life’s work to find the core of my message. What emerged is the revolutionary, gutsy voice of Writing like a Madwoman.
Tina coached me to identify the attributes of the Madwoman: Committed, Resilient, Desires a voice to tell her story, Depth, Determination, Complicated, Highly Creative, Intuitive, Spiritual, Able to Tolerate Discomfort and Pain, In Search of Meaning and Connection, Empathic Soul; has a fire to transform through writing, healing and personal truth.
I am passionate to guide women to tell their deep, dark and daring stories. To claim authority over their story every woman needs to embody their Madwoman.
Studies show that creative writing and journaling heals trauma. The feminine is the creative and holds the mysterious uniqueness of a women’s trauma. As Naomi Goldenberg says in Changing of the Gods, “Every woman’s story is biblical.”
Marta Luzim, MS has been working with women, families, and couples for over forty years. She is a Psychospiritual Therapist, with an MS in Counseling Psychology and BS in Education. She is an expert in women’s trauma and recovery and a Next Level Practitioner in the field of trauma. She is also a certified Kaizen creative coach, Metaphysician somatic body worker, emotional intuitive, intimacy trainer. and mindfulness breath worker. Marta is a published writer, artist, playwright – and president of the Giveheravoice.org multi-media theatrical show of women’s recovery stories. She is passionate about meeting the Mad Genius Beauty of the women she serves, helping them evoke their voices to write deep, dark, and daring. To learn more about Marta‘s work and her signature courses, please visit: Writing Like a Madwoman