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Setting the Wire & The Buddha Sat Right Here

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Setting the Wire & The Buddha Sat Right Here


Please join us for this free event with authors Sarah Townsend and Dena Moes in conversation with local Angelisa Russo!

Setting the Wire: A Memoir of Postpartum Psychosis is the first book by Seattle-area writer Sarah C. Townsend. It weaves together personal anecdote, film, music, visual art, and psychology to explore the author’s experience with postpartum psychosis. It’s a visceral reflection on the experience of fragmentation as a young psychotherapist and new mother.

“Sarah Townsend’s Setting the Wire is a tightly coiled and disturbingly gorgeous exploration of her postpartum mental breakdown,” says New York Times Best Selling writer Claire Dederer. “I devoured these pages—while willing myself to slow down so I could catch every nuance of Townsend’s taut, lyrical, wise writing.”

Townsend received her MFA in creative writing from Goddard College, her master’s in counseling psychology from Northwestern University, and is a graduate of the College of Letters at Wesleyan University. She writes, teaches, and practices psychotherapy in Seattle, Washington.

In 2013, Dena Moes felt like a hamster on a wheel, exhausted by the demands of modern motherhood and her long work days as a respected nurse-midwife. She asked other mothers if they felt the same, and most often, the answer was yes. For Dena, a solution arrived unexpectedly, after a soul changing solo visit to India. Dena returned with a bold suggestion: that she and her husband, Adam, take their daughters out of elementary and middle school to backpack across India and Nepal. For eight months. The Moes crisscrossed India by bus, train, and even elephant; met His Holiness the Dalai Lama; and visited the tree where the Buddha sat. They traveled from the banks of the Ganges to the Himalayan roof of the world—and their breath-taking adventure transformed the entire family.

Replete with journal entries from both daughters as well as selected pictures, The Buddha Sat Right Here is an unforgettable odyssey, a moving meditation on modern family life, and a spiritual quest, written with gusto, humor, honesty—and filled with love and awe.

Dena Moes is a Hollywood born, Yale educated midwife with a BA in literature and an MS in Nursing. Dena and her family live in Chico, California but leave town each summer to attend Rainbow Gatherings and Burning Man, and to tour the West Coast festival circuit as the Moes Family Band. They always come home in time for school to start - except in 2014, when they set off for India and Nepal. Dena is a songwriter, storyteller, and essayist whose work has been published in Midwifery Today, Shasta Parent, Minerva Rising and the Demeter Press book Travellin’ Mama. The Buddha Sat Right Here is Dena's first book. As a nurse-midwife, Dena has provided compassionate healthcare to women, mothers, and babies for twenty years.

Angelisa Russo teaches writing at Stone Bridge School and Solano Community College. She received her MFA in Creative Writing at Goddard College with a focus in Creative Non-fiction/Memoir. She's currently working on her manuscript 10 Days: A Memoir, about the brief, but impactful ten day life of her first born son. While at Goddard, she served as lead drama editor and poetry editor for the Pitkin Review. She has contributed to the Write On, Mamas, Reconceiving Loss, and performed her essay “Caledonia” for the Listen to Your Mother show in San Francisco. She's been a featured reader for Unchaste Reading Series, Grief Rites, LitQuake's Litcrawl, and Penngrove Market's Reading Series. She lives in Napa with her husband and three children.



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