Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Lori Henriksen - Not at the End of Her Journey

One of my joys in writing Taking the Plunge is meeting new people. The first thought that came to mind when I read about Lori Henriksen was “I can’t wait to meet her! The second was “I can’t wait to read her book!”   
Special thanks to writer Stacy Lawson for making the connection and introducing Lori – something she does extraordinarily well. R2                                                                                                                                                      
Lori and I met on a flight from Seattle to San Francisco.  She was on her way to the 2010 SF Writers Conference, and I was on my way down to visit with a writing friend, We fell into each other's lives. This is what can happen when writers meet each other. We want to support each other, because we know how hard the work is.
It didn't take long for Lori and me to uncover the fact that we were both writers. Lori was working on a novel The Winter Loon about a young woman who in 1930 joins a rodeo circuit and is introduced to a world where love is not always restricted to a man and a woman.
          I admire people who risk and have risked to show up for their own life's journey. Ruth Thompson, the protagonist of The Winter Loon interests me for this reason. She is out to find herself during the Great Depression, and in so doing, opens herself up to the ridicule, fear, and small mindedness of others when being gay was illegal. I think Lori's book is coming at a good time.
Gay marriage is legal in many states. Hurray. I'm convinced it will be legal everywhere at some point. In ten years or less, some of us will begin to forget the work done to bring about this change. Poll people under thirty and see if they know about the 1969 Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village that started gay advocacy. I believe that revisiting history through fiction or non-fiction reminds us of our past and keeps us in touch with our own vulnerabilities. The importance of this is that we seek change and remedy for other people who are struggling for their rights.  
          All I can say is that I am hungry to read Lori's work. Stacy Lawson

Lori Henriksen

Most of my adult life has been spent working as a psychotherapist in the child abuse prevention field with both children and adults and in the community college system, counseling students with learning and psychological disabilities. I volunteered with the AIDS Health Project in the 1980’s and 90’s and learned first-hand the intense identity struggles in the gay community.
Over and over again, I reaped the rewards of witnessing people work through conflicts and achieve goals they thought beyond their reach. The many life experiences interwoven in this career have influenced my belief that we have the potential to strengthen and transform ourselves through story.
          I retired in 1998 and moved from San Francisco to Ashland, Oregon. I enrolled in an extension class called “Writing Your Life” at Southern Oregon University. I met an accomplished writer and was surprised to be invited to join a writer’s group. For the first two years I mostly sat in and listened. At a local writer’s conference I shared a short story in a workshop and was encouraged to make it a novel. I learned to write on the wings of my critique group. Writing, rewriting, and rewriting. I learned to accept feedback without feeling defensive. I learned to cut and edit unnecessary words and make every word, every sentence and every scene move the story forward.
          It’s been a long journey on a winding path, but over the last ten years I have finished that novel. A year here and a year there pulled me away from my writing, but like any pilgrim on a quest, I take one step at a time. I won’t reach the end of the journey until my novel finds a home. The fortitude it took in the 1930’s—and even today—to be true to one’s self outside the norm is the essential drama of the novel inspired by my lesbian mother’s life. You can read the first two chapters and more about the writing of the novel at

  1. Who are you? List 5 words that best describe you.
    Compassionate – Imaginative – Determined – Curious – Realistic

2. What have you done that you’re most proud of?

I have continued to grow over the years. I have been in a loving committed relationship for over forty years, and we are still best friends. I open my heart to stray dogs and cats and give them a home. They find me. I don’t go looking for them. I can now call myself an author.

3. If you could change one thing in your past, what would it be?

I would have had the confidence and self-esteem to do more. My early years were spent trying to find myself and my place in the world. I spent too much time feeling less than everyone around me.

     4. On a personal level, what drives you crazy? What gives you joy?

Crazy? War. The drive for materialistic gains without regard for others. Basic rights violations. The divisive political atmosphere. 

Joy? Stories of heroic acts as daring as pulling someone out of a burning car or as simple as a word of encouragement to a distressed child. Finding solace in nature. A hike with my dog. A glass of wine, good food and loving friends. People working together to fight discrimination.

5. Given no restrictions (i.e. money/physical capabilities) – what would you most like to do?

I would fund no-kill shelters for unwanted and homeless animals. This would include the funds to educate the public about the importance of spaying and neutering all dogs and cats.
With no physical restrictions, I would start with a climb to the summit of Mt. Shasta and stick my face in a lenticular cloud.

I would visit India and live in an ashram. I would learn to sail and visit as many ports of call as I could before publishing my final novel.
he world
Two Favorite Pups

On Holiday in England

Panther Meadows, Mt. Shasta

You can email Lori @ 

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