Responding artfully is a trauma informed care practice as it takes you out of your wordy brain and into other parts of your knowledge or knowing process. Often we privilege language over other ways of knowing. J Mase III, in his latest book, And Then I Got Fired: One Transqueer’s Reflections on Grief, Unemployment & Inappropriate Jokes About Death, through the use of language, weaves together other responses such as emotion, imagination, and your felt senses. I know, it's hard to imagine how a book which is necessarily immersed in language can do that, but it does! And here is how:
- Mase shares his life authentically through prose and poetry. Poetry connects to imagination, one of the ways of knowing.
- Mase invites the reader to explore their own emotions. Emotion is a way of knowing.
- Mase offers affirmations of your lived experience. That is stepping out in faith! Faith is a way of knowing.
And there are other ways that Mase connects to the ways of knowing (WOK: Ways Of Knowing). For the reader that is discouraged because they do not have a primary WOK that rests in language, it is an encouraging book to read. For the reader that loves language, writing, and reading, there is plenty there to help you connect to a part of yourself you may neglect. And when it comes to grief and grief-work, we need all the WOK at our disposal!
You can buy Mase's book at his website jmaseii.com and you can learn more about the fantastic work in the areas of racial justice, trans justice, and faith that he participates in. You can also follow him on Instagram @jmaseiii .
P.S. A bit more on Ways of Knowing: