Donna Barrow-Green Hello Joanie, It's great to be here!
Joanie Chevalier How are you today, Donna? Are you a night person or a morning person?
Donna Barrow-Green I'm great. The weather is just gorgeous here in Portland Oregon. Feels like spring. I'm more a night person lately...I love when the house is quiet...
Joanie Chevalier I've seen from your photos that you have a few doggies. Who else do you live with?
Donna Barrow-Green My husband and daughter. Even with my little family it seems the days are crazy busy--
Joanie Chevalier I bet! Tell us a little bit about your books and genres you like writing in. I notice that you have quite a number of them!
Donna Barrow-Green Many of my books are historical novels set i the 1940s ad 1950s. They are psychological thrillers. I have a 5 book series spraining the lives of a very dysfunctional family...the story begins with intense trauma and the remaining books examine the way that trauma plays out i the lives of all family members over the years.
Donna Barrow-Green You can find out more about that series here: http://www.donnabarrowgreen.com/historical-series.htmlManage
Donna Barrow-Green I also currently have the series available for free on wattled. https://www.wattpad.com/user/rosegluckwriterManage
Donna Barrow-Green I've also written a memoir entitled What Remains Inside. It is a pretty intense story chronically a year in my life as a teenager. It is a coming of age story in the shadow of the terrifying terrain of my mother's mental illness... Alexia Monition Lars...See MoreManage
Guest Blogger Alexia Montibon-Larsson– An Introduction to Author Rose Gluck
Donna Barrow-Green And of course there's my new podcast The Diarist....that has been my primary creative endeavor these days...https://thediaristpodcast.wordpress.comManage
The Diarist Podcast
Joanie Chevalier That is so fascinating to write a memoir. Because all of us are affected by an event and it often goes through generations, like a pebble skipping on a lake. You are so brave to open yourself up like this. What would you say to the person who is afraid of going public for one reason or another?
Donna Barrow-Green That's a great question. I'm not sure...it's definitely a timing issue. For me it was very healing because a lot of the experiences I wrote about were never processed and still locked away in that 15 year old part of my brain. I wrote the memoir when I...See More
Donna Barrow-Green I actually interviewed the author on one of my blogs: https://rosegluckreviews.wordpress.com/.../book-review.../Manage
Book Review: (Re)Making Love – a sex after sixty story by Mary Tabor
Joanie Chevalier Let's talk about your podcast, The Diarist. That sounds like such an intense project!! And a project that once you start, you wouldn't be able to back out, ha. How did you first come up with the idea?
Donna Barrow-Green Yes I LOVE talking about my podcast. It is so exciting and fun. I just had a feeling about a novel I was working on--that it would make a good podcast. I listen to a lot of podcasts and knew there was nothing like it out there...The novel was half finished when I started working on the podcast.
Joanie Chevalier How does one listen to a podcast? Is it through something like YouTube, through the internet? I've never listened to one....but I've seen many starting to pop up so that is definitely something in my future...
Donna Barrow-Green The original idea came up in a conversation with a friend who is a writer / screen writer and very supportive of my work. I told him I was thinking of turning the last book in my historical series into a play. He thought I should turn it into a thrille...See More
Embed - Intentional Fallacy (Book 5) - Wattpad
Donna Barrow-Green I just attached the original story...so any way I ended up writing a whole new story The Diarist but it was originally based on my book Intetional Fallacy.
Donna Barrow-Green Podcasts are available on iTunes...there is a whole podcast world. You host the audio on one of many platforms, SoundCloud Lysbin, etc. and then upload to iTunes. There are SO many amazing podcasts--some ion my favorites: Serial, S-Town, Alice Isn't Dead...
Donna Barrow-Green There is a learning curve to doing podcasting because it involves so many aspects: sound engineering, equipment, script or interview format, on-line platforms. However there are a lot of resources out there and it is one way an author can get a chance at getting their work out there. It is not as difficult as publishing or a full staged production of a play. I love it!
Joanie Chevalier Awesome! So if anyone has any questions, they can ask you!
Donna Barrow-Green Absolutely! They can message me here or at firstname.lastname@example.org I would also recommend signing up for The Diarist Newsletter on our website. We will have a lot of extra content and I'm going to be writing a series of articles on my experiences breaking into podcasting....
Joanie Chevalier So I see that you have other people who help you. Can you explain the roles in a podcast, and then, how do you find the people to help you?Manage
Joanie Chevalier These are a few people who are assisting in this project, right?
Donna Barrow-Green Yes! I am so lucky to have 2 co-producers Beth Ricketson and Ryan Bowen. They are professional actors / theater professionals here in Portland and have helped me cast the show, work with the sound engineer, ad work through some of the plot. Beth is co-...See More
Joanie Chevalier replied · 3 Replies · 7 hrs
Joanie Chevalier So, do you write it as you go, Donna? Or is it set at the beginning?
Donna Barrow-Green replied · 1 Reply
Joanie Chevalier This is so fascinating Donna! So, is writing a podcast essentially writing a play? How do you know how to do this? This takes skill: in writing, in time management, in getting along with people, in improvising....and the list goes on. You are so talented!😍
Donna Barrow-Green You're so sweet. Thank you! I used to do a lot of playwriting and so I studied how to use dialogue to create action. It's so different. One thing I was thinking was that in the series of essays I'm doing is to discuss prose vs. dialogue...to show how to transform narrative into dramatic writing.
Joanie Chevalier I LOVE this idea! It would be SO popular! Yes, please do it (on top of the million other things you are doing, lol)!
Donna Barrow-Green Joanie Chevalier I definitely will! I'll probably post it on my Diarist website and also on wattled. I'll let people know about it here o FB.
Donna Barrow-Green As for collaborating, I feel it is helpful to have talented people I trust working with me. I have had experiences where there was a disconnect and it is the WORST!
Joanie Chevalier I bet!
Joanie Chevalier Thank you so much for your time! We appreciate YOU so much!
So one more time, Donna, how can people connect with you? And how can people become a subscriber to help support this great idea of yours?
Donna Barrow-Green You can always find me here on Facebook and my website. donnabarrowgreen.com You can subscribe to our Diarist newsletter at thediaristpodcast.wordpress.com and it would be so WONDERFUL to have financial support for our work. Consider becoming a member / subscribers...https://www.patreon.com/user?u=9302225Manage
DONNA BARROW GREEN - AUTHOR
Donna Barrow-Green Joanie, thank you so much for this opportunity to talk with you. I appreciate your interest in my work. The greatest thing about being a writer today is all the amazing connections on social media. I am so glad I met you and other authors. I love your ...See More
Joanie Chevalier I knew a winner when I saw it! 💙
Donna Barrow-Green Joanie Chevalier ❤️❤️
This interview was originally published on Emma's Detail Shop https://www.emmasdetailshop.com/interview-with-donna-barrow-green
Thank you, Donna for taking some time out of your busy schedule to interview with us. We really appreciate it! First, I know you have quite a few books under your alias, Rose Gluck. Are you still writing under Rose, or have you decided to start writing under your real name of Donna?
I still write under the pen name Rose Gluck. I maintain my wattpad page. https://www.wattpad.com/user/rosegluckwriter and my medium account https://medium.com/invisible-illness/its-not-biopolar-it-s-something-else-45aba9a83016. I frequently publish as Rose Gluck on several medium publications including Invisible Illness. I tend to use Rose Gluck accounts for draft versions and more personal essays – things I’m not ready to put out into the world under my real name for one reason or another. I will likely keep using the pen name but will migrate most of my work to Donna Barrow-Green as it becomes more polished and finalized.
I’ve read your bio and I’m quite impressed! You hold a doctorate in education and you are a researcher and teach college courses in psychology, special education, and infant mental health. Would you say this path has helped you in your writing?
Yes definitely. I am very interested in under-represented populations. My academic research focuses on the ways people are viewed by society and how it impacts their life experiences. I am a strong believer in the social construction of mental illness and disability. I have done quite a lot of research into the history women and the mental health system. Many of my books deals with women and injustice played out under the guise of psychiatric “care.” Really the old institutions, theories on mental illness, and social mores were oppressive mechanisms that destroyed so many women’s lives. At one time it was entirely possible to lock a woman away and throw away the key. So I study the same dynamics that oppress people today for disabilities, mental health, substance abuse, etc. It is equally unbelievable how these power dynamics repeat themselves.
I’ve read Exuberance is Beauty and left a 5-star review on Amazon way back in 2015 (time flies!). I wrote that it was “Hauntingly Beautiful” and I remember it was a great psychological thriller. Is this your favorite genre to write?
For some reason for the last 10 years I have been “stuck” in the 40s and 50s! I was laughing the other day because I have been thinking about a new novel in the magical realism genre set in the 1970s. Without realizing it I said, “I need to get out of the past!” I forget sometimes that the 1970s was 50 years ago! Overall, I like historical contexts though because social issues can be explored with enough distance to have impact without preaching. It lends itself to psychological thriller because it truly is terrifying to imagine being in certain historical scenarios. I have spent so much time reading old case studies, police reports, newspaper articles, and the like. It’s like discovering a buried artifact. Telling these stories makes me feel as if I’m doing a little something to settle the score for a poor forgotten soul. All of my novels, short stories, and memoirs are available free on wattled.
Now, on to the fun stuff – your podcast! How in the world does an author decide to turn to trying a podcast?
I can honestly say I didn’t know what I was getting myself into! I felt as if The Diarist would make a compelling fiction podcast and for a year worked with my co-producers Beth Ricketson and Ryan Bowen. We started out with a cheap microphone and snuck into meeting rooms in a church next door to my house and began recording. However, most of our sessions ended up being long conversations where we became good friends. We joked that we should just record making the podcast as the podcast. However, both Beth and Ryan are talented actors and as we began recording I realized that I needed to take the script from half audiobook to an entirely scripted podcast. So that meant taking each chapter of the book and turning it into monologues and dialogues. I tend to be an ambitious and impulsive person and jump into creative ideas without fully thinking it through. Unusually it works out and in the case of The Diarist it did. We now have 7 professional actors, good recording equipment, a 400 page script, a social media campaign, and a sound engineer. I have considered writing my experience down in a series of essays to help others navigate the process. I love the collaborative process. I’ve never written anything while simultaneously producing it. The actors help me see the direction of the plot and I think in a lot of ways influence it. It’s been amazing!!! I have two other scripts ready to go and have considered if this one takes off to turn my series of novels into a longer multi-season podcast.
How did you come up with the story, The Diarist?
The Diarist started out as an idea from a great writer/ wattpad friend Chad Thumann. He is a novelist and screenwriter and has been a huge supporter of my writing. He read my series of 5 novels and when he finished the last one Intentional Fallacy I told him I was thinking of turning it into a script. He suggested I take it further, more a noir psychological thriller. I started adapting the original novel Intentional Fallacy and then from that The Diarist emerged as a separate story. It is very different from Intentional Fallacy and has become unique from the original plot. I originally wrote it as a novel but as I mentioned earlier it morphed into a script that is now the podcast! As my co-director and I met last week I looked down at the 400 page script and said “what have we gotten ourselves into?”
Tell us what it’s about. And how you hired the actors, etc. How does it feel to be a co-director of a podcast? It sounds so exciting!
I knew actors here in Portland from local staged readings from my plays. I contacted Beth and told her about the story. She was very interested and came on board as co-director / lead actor. She is a member of a theater group called Playback Theater and she recruited some of their members for various roles. I also found actors through local networks. I was SO lucky to get such talented, naturalistic actors. As for directing, I play a minimal role. Mostly I talk to the actors about the story and the back story. At first I hadn’t finished the book and so my co-producer/ lead male actor Ryan didn’t know if he had actually killed his wife or faked it!!! It is really exciting and fun.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to try doing their own podcast?
Listen to podcasts and take advantage of the many online resources to help you get started. As I conveyed, there is a steep learning curve but it’s a fun and exciting project and the rewards are pretty immediate. Unlike breaking into book publishing or having a fully staged production of a script, podcasting is cheap and easy to get into. There are some things to know though. One resource I’ve used is The Podcast Host. The site offers a series of chapters on podcasting, with all the information you need to get started. https://www.thepodcasthost.com/planning/how-to-start-a-podcast/
**Please check out our fundraising Patreon page. We really need support to keep The Diarist going and to bring more new fiction to the podcast world!!! Subscriptions and memberships to our patreon campaign allow patrons access to early releases, scripts, book chapters, and more! Even a chance to cameo on one of the upcoming podcasts. If you love great fiction and podcast please help us fund this amazing project: https://www.patreon.com/user?u=9302225
Here are Donna’s Social Links: Website | Facebook | Wattpad | Medium | Wordpress
Thank you again Donna for spending some time with us. We wish you well in your future endeavors!
It’s not biopolar — it’s something else.
I’ve written a few articles about my expeirneces with bipolar II or what I thought was bipolar II. I am a good example of how confusing and difficult understanding mental health is when there is a confluence of trauma, mental illness, and now…learning disabilities.
The inspiration for this article came in the form of a dream last night: I dreamed last night that I was at a yard sale and I bought a car for $400. In that convoluted way dreams are, I bought it for the couch cushions in the back seat — I had an idea in my head that $400 was cheap for replacement cusions and the car was exactly like ours so if the transmission went I would have a replacement. It all made sense in the moment — in the dream but when I got home I realized it was a ridiculous thing to do. I tried to explain to my husband that it was a good deal for $400. In the dream I kept ruminating over the fact that I didn’t remember the purchase at all or why I would have done it.
This is the story of my life; impulsive, rash decisions and the fall out: embarrassment and shame.
I have spent the last 10 years working on two graduate degrees. I finished my doctoral dissertation last October and now I have a doctorate in education. I graduated with a 4.0. I say all of this not to brag, but to demonstrate how determined I was to prove to myself that I wasn’t stupid. I had accepted I was mentally ill…that was a no brainer becasue I had such a toxic childhood and trauma well into my early adult years. But stupid was almost more frightening than crazy. I’d been told all my life in one way or another that I was stupid — by my parents, by teachers. I can remember clearly in middle school, highschool, and college being the first to raise my hand beaming with confidence — not only that I had the correct answer in math class but that I had invented a new kind of math — I was called on and my answer was absurdly wrong. I was a outgoing and a class clown so I was accustomed to peals of laughter at something I said. Inside though I knew I was damaged. I can remember being on the school bus back in Massachusetts. I used to stare out the window, rain rivulets running down the cold glass. Sometimes I would think. “I will remember this exact moment two days from now.” I tried to will myself a kind of memory I would never have. Not just a normal memory but a super human one. That’s what I wanted. I can also remember a day on the bus thinking if I could learn how geniuses think, then I could teach myself.
Once my dissertation was done, I didn’t feel any smarter but I also finally knew I wasn’t stupid. I was ready to get tested for learning disabilities. I had a suspicion I had ADHD. It’s pretty obvious. I didn’t expect the other results.
My first session with the neuropsychologist was an hour and a half interview. I am very articulate and a very fast thinker. Although I feel like a failure most of the time I present a very accomplished life: I have a doctorate, I teach college classes, I’ve written 10 novels, I’ve written plays that have minor recognition, I am a mother, A wife, a rape survivor, a recovering alchohoic with 17 years sobriety. Still, I know I’m keeping a secret and every day I wake up and — until my coffee has kicked in — I tell myself over and over the ways I’ve failed. That I’m a loser.
I’m not blaming all of this on the learning disabilities. I had a very traumatic childhood and experienced many other traumas. I struggled with depression and when I was 17 I attempted suicide. I was a senior in high school and the principal wanted to hold me back not because I lost 2 weeks of school for psychiactric hospitalization but because, as he put it I’m “a loser who will burn in college.” He said people like me “don’t make it.” My dad who was in the office during the “hearing to hold me back my senior year” half heartedly agreed with him (that I was a loser and should stay back!!!). Really my dad didn’t care what happened to me. He wanted to get out of the meeting and back in his car in time to snort a line of cocaine before he went back to work as a chemist at a golf ball factory a few miles away. He was itching to get out of the principal’s office and had no intention of advocating for me. But I did have every inention of advocating for myself. Fuck this guy I thought He’s the loser. I said, “I’m not staying back a year. That isn’t legal.” I looked at the school counselor and I said “I attempted suicide and you don’t think that is a good enough reasong to be excused?” The counselor too was half hearted “if you had broken your leg yes we’d excuse the absences — “ but I didn’t stop. I didn’t relent. Finally the principle and I made a terrible agreement that I could graduate but I couldn’t get out of school early like the rest of the seniors. I would stay on until June and take full day PE classes and finish up and pass history. It was six hours of badmitton a day for two months.
My parents didn’t really care about my education. When I told my father I was going to submit a poem to a contest back when I was 17 he said “good. It will be good for you to learn what rejection feels like.” My mother’s view of me was no better “You’re lucky you’re pretty. You’re dumb but your pretty.”
Dumb. Besides those who were supposed to protect me, many adults thought I was being a smart ass. I was too full of myself and had to be knocked down a few rungs. And I was a smart ass. I hated injustice and I could prove it. When my English teacher (who hated me) failed me on my papers, I wrote papers for other students and they got As and Bs. I told Mrs. Rutkowitz and she said I’d never make it. I still think of her as a loser. I guess I didn’t have much respect for adults and it came through. Except there were a few adults who did care and they inspire me in my work in education. My high school history teacher Mr. Dow was furious over the way the school was treating me. What I didn’t know was that they didn’t even put my name on the graduation list or order a diploma. I had to pass the history final to meet the conditions I agreed to in the hearing. When I finished the exam (I was in the class with the juniors because seniors had long since left), Mr. Dow made me stand right next to him while he graded it. He smiled when he looked up at me. “You passed,” He said. Had he been hoping for me behind the scenes? Then he picked up the paper and told the class “I’ll be right back.” He walked me to the office and handed the secretary the test. “Put her name on the graduation list” he commanded. “I’ll get to it,” she said. “No. I want to see you do it now.” And she did. And I graduated.
All of the ugliness and trauma in my younger years was mitigated by a gift I had. I spent every moment of my life day dreaming. These were rich elaborate stories that ran parellel to my real life. They got me through the hours of chores my mother forced my sister and I to do. I can remember the little story: I was an orphan who was forced to clean the orphanage. I can picture the ratty old Dickensonian clothes I wore in my imagination. A simliar version of that story still runs through my head when I clean my house. My childhood was one of severe abuse and neglect. To endure the years from my early adolescece until I left at 17, I made up elaborate narratives about boys I had crushes on. These were not simply the day dream of going on dates. These were long involved stories with me as the protagonist overcoming impossible odds. One I vividly remember: I fell in love with a football player. I became pregnant and decided to take my own life. I overdosed on pills and woke in the hsopital. I had been in a coma for months and woke to find him there and our little baby. We were going to get married. It’s sad becasue of all it might represent psychoanalytically (and I had my share of those exxpeirnece). While it was sad, I find out it had a neurological orign as well as a psychological one.
The psychologicst calculated the test results and we met again after all the testing was completed. It seems my verbal abilities are in the 98th percentile. That’s very high but I have dyslexia, executive function problem (working memory and visual spacial processing). I also have ADHD. At first I didn’t hear the verbal abilities. I didn’t care so much about the ADHD but the learning disabilites that was compeltely new — not the reading part so much. I always hated reading and it’s very hard for me to read. I have to read and re-read because I constantly read things incorrectly and my fast ADHD mind and my verbal skills kick in and call attention to the ambiguity of what I just read. But that’s part of the problem: the way I compensate for these problems is physically exhausting.
So how did I complete a doctorate and write all these books? According to this doctor it’s a combination of being highly compensated and also my rebellious / ADHD attitude. She’s not sure if I would be as highly compensated if i didn’t have the trauma during childhood. That combination strengthened my language / verbal skills. In fact, she said she noticed the way I compelted the tasks was always through narrative language processing. I understand math when it’s presented in a story form. I make up stories to complete tasks that were boring, and when trauma strikes I drown in narrative (or write novels). During the testing there were some things I couldn’t hide or compensate for. The working memory, the reading disability, the visual processing problems.However, I’ve found ways to overcome some of the reading problems. I think being a writer and also forcing myself through graduate school, reading all those academic journal articles and books. I had to force myself to find strategies to pass. And I did with a 4.0. But I don’t read like everyone else. I scan around and read parts and then put them back together like a puzzle. It work for reserach studies and other dense writing.
I just feel tired from it all. I’m glad I completed the doctorate but I still don’t feel particularly smart. So instead, I’ve been connecting with just “who I am.” And that seems independent of the language gifteness or the learning disabilities. The giftedness was part innate and part the consequence of my terrible childhood. In brain science they talk a lot about learning as burning neuropathways. I think I burned my own and they were circcuitous haphazard stories around all the broken parts of my brain. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I got my doctorate in special education. I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that I write novels about women who overcome tremendous trauma.
This article was originally published at Invisible: Illness https://medium.com/invisible-illness/its-not-biopolar-it-s-something-else-45aba9a83016