Interview with Sheryl Keen, Author of Journal According to John (Part 1)

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Sheryl A. Keen has a bachelor’s degree in History with a minor in English Literature from the University of the West Indies. She lives in Canada where she works in Administration.

In addition to prose, Sheryl also writes poetry. When she is not writing, one of her other loves is painting.

About the Book
Following a nasty bar brawl, John, a twenty-eight-year-old man, follows a close friend’s advice and begins keeping a journal. He’s recently divorced from his wife, Debbie, and he hopes the journal will provide a tool with which to make sense of his brief, failed marriage and to determine why he is so emotionally challenged.

As a therapist specializing in behavioral issues, he knows he has to pull his own life together. If he tells people to clean up their own lives, modify their thoughts, and learn new, more appropriate behaviors, he knows that he’s got to step up and follow his own advice. Early on, he realizes that his mother, the curator of a gallery that specializes in steel art and other nontraditional works, has largely shaped his thoughts and actions. But just how much can he blame her for his current state of affairs?

Soon the words in the journal are flowing easily and quickly. When painful thoughts are no longer avoided and dreams provide fuel for his writing, the journal takes on a life of its own. Will John discover the reasons for his dysfunctional situation? Can keeping a journal help him improve his life?

I am making my second entry in this journal. I’ve taken up this activity on the advice of Maya, my cousin and friend who thinks it will be good for me. I strove hard against the idea of catharsis and all that business of cleansing because I don’t know what good having my problems written down in hard black and white will do. If anything, this constant writing must be a continuous reminder of the kind of life I have cultivated. I also don’t know many men who write in journals, and I don’t want to be a pioneer this way. But sometimes friends win, with their constant and insistent badgering, as only they can. Maya could influence cow to buy milk; her powers of persuasion are limitless. At a time when my marriage has dissolved like Andrews Salts in water, dissolving yet fizzing all over the place, the last thing I want to be committed to is making journal entries, especially about issues that are dark and troublesome, issues I placed at the back of my mind long ago, yet which have shaped this shell of a thing I’ve called my life.

(Part 1) | Part 2 | Part 3


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