If I were asked to sum up in only a few words what kinds of books we publish, I’d say stories of resilience. Whether fiction or nonfiction doesn’t matter; every story with our logo on it is relaying a tale of human struggle and resilience.
Of course, like Katherine Turner, our definition of resilience doesn’t come from a dictionary. In fact, we prefer Katherine’s definition because it’s more reflective of reality:
“Resilience isn’t magically returning to the way things were before a trauma as if nothing ever happened or pretending you’re able to. It’s getting your bearings and then refusing to remain where you are. It’s taking stock of what you’ve got and figuring out how to use it to get you moving forward, one slow and painful step at a time, knowing that if you simply don’t give up, you’ll make it where you’re headed.”
And how does that definition apply to our stories?
With every book we acquire, our goal is to usher into the world stories of people facing deep struggles and finding their way to the light at the end of the tunnel. Stories in which people somehow find the strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other when it would be so much easier not to. Stories of people overcoming some of the darkest, most painful experiences we can have today—experiences many may believe don’t truly exist.
But they do, and our authors, whether telling tales from their own lives or those of fictional characters, are illuminating those experiences and the strength of the human spirit required to come out on the other side and march toward a better future.
Resilience can be messy and can have many different faces. It can look like Annie in the Life Imperfect series finding a way to acknowledge that she didn’t deserve the sexual violence of her high school sweetheart’s brother, and thus the ways in which that trauma influenced much of her life as well as how it triggered her responses to her myriad childhood trauma.
Or maybe it looks like Olivia Castetter in her memoir, finding her will to fight back during an attempted rape or speaking up about the connection between early childhood messages and her stories of multiple sexual aggressors in her teen years in order to effect positive change in society, all of which she addresses in Me, Too.
Of course, there’s also resilient by Katherine Turner. Hailed by reviewers as a must-read for anyone with trauma—or anyone who knows someone with trauma—resilient is the story of someone who fought to survive long before she even learned what it meant to be alive. Told with heart-wrenching honesty, it’s a memoir of complex trauma, and it’s the story of someone who decided to live another day—who fought to live another day, even as a child who was tasked with caring for her younger sister, leading her to beg on the street and scour parking lots for enough change to buy even one can of vegetables.
I had turned eight the week before, and though my mom had promised me she would stop drinking as her present to me, it had only lasted a day, and then she had another bottle of vodka.
“Give me what you have so I can give it to your mom,” Linda said as we walked back to our trailer.
I wonder if she saw everything, I thought as my hand fished around in my pocket.
Linda hadn’t been able to find a job yet, so we went with her to the parking lot in the shopping center a few days a week to beg for money from the grocery store customers. Mostly people just passed by us, although some skirted wide circles as if coming too close would make them sick. When that happened, I felt like we were rabid stray animals, but I almost preferred that over the ones who walked into us as if we weren’t there at all. But some people, like the nice man and woman today, would go out of their way to walk over and give us a little money from their pockets, though they looked almost as hungry and dirty as we were.
Linda always took everything we got once we started back to the trailer and then would give everything to my mom to figure out how to divide. Despite my mom’s promises and—I believe—good intentions, she only bought vodka with that money. I’d started hiding some of it so I could sneak over to the store and buy a can of vegetables for my sister and me to eat. I would stand in the canned vegetable aisle with my few coins clutched in my fist and read every price label and every sign advertising a sale or special deal.
Linda was waiting with her hand out and I carefully left behind what I thought might be a quarter and a couple of dimes as I pulled my hand out of my pocket. “Here you go,” I said, dropping the last few coins into her palm. Crossing my fingers that she hadn’t been counting as people gave me money, I started walking again.
“That’s not everything,” she called after me. “Check your pockets again.”
My heart skipped and I got that same electricity feeling I always did when I was about to be spanked. Linda had never spanked me, but I was always afraid she would. Digging in my pocket again, trying to make it look like I was searching, I pulled my hand out with the rest of the coins.
“Sorry,” I mumbled, feeling guilty for the lie I was about to tell. “I missed these by accident.” Dropping the coins in her hand, I turned and started walking again. We’ll have to go to Billy and Sue’s trailer today.
Billy and Sue were brother and sister, and their trailer was the biggest one in the trailer park. Most of the kids ended up playing there and their parents sometimes fed us. They were the most popular kids in the trailer park, and they were bullies, leading the rest of the kids to pick on my sister and me for being so poor and dirty, for me being chubby and my sister skinny, and their parents always made comments to us about my mom and Linda being “worthless lesbians”; still, I took my sister over there so we could eat.From resilient
Page after page, resilient is flowing with harrowing stories like the one shared above, demonstrating the origins of the author’s resilience in childhood. As Katherine chronicles her painful past, she eloquently tells others that they are not alone and describes the true reality of a life rife with abuse and neglect.
This month marks the one-year anniversary of the publication of Katherine’s resilient, and to celebrate her courage to share her story, we are teaming up with Katherine and Feeding America for a virtual food drive. One of our missions at Josha is not only to tell others they aren’t alone with the stories we publish, but to show them—and that’s our goal as we partner with Katherine this month.
To participate in the food drive and contribute, as well as to read more about the Feeding America organization and the work they do in our country, click here.
To learn more about resilient, click here (also available for sale everywhere books are sold).
Josha Publishing, LLC is a woman-founded, woman-owned, and woman-run company that is passionate about books, stories, and the power of words to change lives. Learn more about us here and remember to sign up for our newsletter to find out about new content, new books, and submissions update.