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Isa Lysande

I always knew I was different, but it took a really long time to know exactly how and why.  At first, I thought it was because I was mixed race; then, for years after that, I thought it was because I was queer.  It took me a long time to figure out that the true source of my difference lay in my sensitivity, and in my deep reverence and love for the sacred.

In a world that didn’t make sense to me, books have always been a source of comfort, inspiration and magic.  In the company of stories, I could be myself, and explore the vast landscape of my own spirit.  I found hope in the long aisles of libraries, and solace in the scent of the printed page.  I was a devoted reader, but not a writer.  I believed in the power of stories; I believed in their ability to heal and transform; but I never thought that I would actually sit down and write a book myself.

Instead, I pursued a career in the healing arts, and have spent nearly twenty years of my life devoted to Traditional Chinese Medicine.  I work as an acupuncturist, and spend my days tending to my patients.  What I’ve learned is that being a real healer is about so much more than knowing the intricacies of the medicine.  It’s also about being a deep listener, and learning how to see the fullness of the human being before you.  That, to me, is where the sacredness can be found in the medicine—in the deep listening, and the recognition that we are so much more than blood, and bone and muscle.  I believe that this cultivation of listening to spirit, and to the places unseen, is what opened a door to my writing.

In my early thirties I began to have insomnia.  I would lay awake for hours, desperate to fall asleep.  It took a while to understand that something was trying to emerge from out of my soul; something new, that wasn’t yet comfortable being seen in the blazing light of the day.  It was the first images of my story, raw and delicate and as of yet unformed.  For more than a year, I spent my nights writing the first draft of Where the Moon Keeps Her Heart.  During the day, I went to work, treated patients, and somehow managed to still do a good job while (barely) keeping it together.  But at night I was wide awake, captivated by the story unfolding onto the page.  I felt like a mad scientist, with my spirit caught by this burning passion churning inside of me, and no way to be free of it until I finished the manuscript.

Being a writer was never something I planned.  It was more like an awakening.  And in that way, I can deeply relate to Fjörna, slowly awakening to this wonderous beauty inside of her.  Writing this first book was an act of devotion and love, not just to the story, but also to the sacredness that it upholds.  Even though it is a work of fiction, to me, every word of it is true.  I hope you find beauty in these pages, and hope in the words.  I hope you find purpose in the story, and permission to unfold into your most brilliant, authentic self.

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