Mary Wood, a long-time and well-known CSA member, recently published a book based on her experience of stuttering. The book is titled “Beyond the Fear of Stuttering: My Journey to Self-Acceptance and Freedom”. We decided to congratulate Mary and to ask her a few questions about the book.
CSA: Hi, Mary. First, congratulations, and thank you for writing a book based on your experience as someone affected by stuttering. What was your purpose in writing the book?
Mary: Maybe there is something that I learned or experienced that someone else can also relate to, or learn from. I stuttered for just about 50 years before I heard the words that would change my life – “My mind controls my body. What I think about, I bring about.” I didn’t really understand what they meant. I just knew they were going to change my life.
CSA: Who did you have in mind when you wrote the book? Who were you speaking to?
Mary: I was speaking to and sharing with people who stutter, with parents of children in stutter, and anybody else who can relate to what had changed my life. And I’m hearing from people who don’t stutter that have read the book that they can relate to what is written. I wrote it because of the lessons I had learned and the people I had met who shared their experiences.
CSA: Can you tell us a little bit about what is in the book
Mary: As I started to question what stuttering was all about for me, I was surprised where this led, and at some of the answers I was getting. There are chapters on our thoughts, on fear, our self esteem, on gratitude, and forgiveness – just to name a few. And there’s also a chapter entitled “It’s not really about stuttering” – a surprise for me.
CSA: What was your creative process for writing?
Mary: This book is based on all the workshops that I have presented over the past 20 years for the stuttering community. I’ve never thought about my creative process. I write about what I’m experiencing in my own life, what I have discovered that I feel will give me some guidance and support, and then pass it along. I guess I imagine I’m having a conversation with someone, sharing, and listening.
CSA: The word “fear” features prominently in the title. How important do you think fear is in the experience of stuttering?
Mary: I can only speak from my own experience. I found out that the fear of rejection was at the base of my fear of stuttering - the fear that I would not be loved or accepted when I stutter. That fear also went into other areas of my life. The chapter on fear is the biggest one in the book…. So I think that says how important I think it is.
CSA: Do you believe that freedom from stuttering is truly possible?
Mary: I don’t know if it is for someone else. Freedom from the fear of stuttering and the feelings that are behind the stuttering are possible for me and something that I am continually aware of. I don’t think it happens over night, but is a life journey, every day, every year getting a little easier
CSA: What inspires you?
Mary: I’m inspired when I read or hear about someone overcoming a problem or circumstance. I’m inspired as I learn while reading a book, attending a workshop – those words or that feeling that lets me know this is an important awareness for me, and perhaps others.
CSA: Thank you, Mary. We know that your book, much like your presentations over the years, will help, bring hope, and inspire many of us. Again, congratulations, and thank you for sharing so generously.