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Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Reflective Entry from Local Author Susan Berg: A Girl Who Lived...and Touched Our Hearts: 11am, Saturday, 25th July 2015

Reflective Entry from Local Author Susan Berg: A Girl Who Lived...and Touched Our Hearts:
11am, Saturday, 25th July 2015
was invited to talk about my memoir “The Girl Who Lived” at Mentone Public Library on Saturday 25thJuly. I was unsure at first how much I should share with people I had never met - especially when my life has been far from conventional. I decided to tell my story in all its rawness – as I’ve done in my book.
The group of 22 were compassionate.  They understood when my voice wavered, that I wasn’t just reading aloud a story – but that I was reliving my past. I had lost my parents and brother in a boating accident when I was fifteen years of age. I was the sole survivor.

I shared the guilt and grief I had felt over their deaths – for having been the person who was driving the boat when it sank, the person who had left them to go ahead for help. The person who had failed to locate them from the helicopter. The person who had survived. I told the group of how I’d agonised over why I had lived instead of my Mum, Dad or brother, Bill.

Photo Courtesy Yvette Bentata-Moore of the Blue Chair Poets
I shared how I had struggled to cope with my new reality and how I’d delved head-first down a path of self-destruction. The group embraced me, eager to know more about why I had sought solace in drugs, meaningless sex and abusive relationships. I felt safe to share my deepest and darkest secrets.

In return, the group opened up with me. I was truly moved that they felt safe to share deeply personal stories about their own lives. By the time the session finished, I felt like I was in a room surrounded by close friends.  

I could feel the joyfulness of the group as I shared how I had healed from my past and overcome my grief. They were happy that I had attracted wonderful things into my life since.
Conveying some of my stories about motorbike riding, I may even have convinced a few of the readers to go out and get a motorbike license themselves, or at the very least, hop on the back of my bike. I’m sure I could take them on the ride of a lifetime!
I would like to thank Julia and Tony for inviting me to share my story with such wonderful and caring people. I look forward to coming back in December and spending more time with you all.

Dear Susan,
The Mentone Public Library and its patrons found it at once a humbling and awe-inspiring experience to have you speak at our library. You so bravely plunged yet again into the heart of darkness to help us see all you have had to traverse through. In effect, Susan, you survived twice; the tragedy itself, and the grief that kept you shackled all those years. The sheer courage you found, your strength, talent and ability to articulate the progressive ascent from that deep abyss of pain and emotional isolation, and your commitment to helping others rise again after suffering terrible trauma, is to be applauded with a standing ovation. What a privilege to host you and your resilient heart. We can't wait to have you back again for our Author Appreciation Ceremony on Saturday, 12th December 2015.  - The Mentone Public Library Team.
For more information or to purchase copies of Susan Berg's book "The Girl Who Lived", please visit:

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