Many say that writing is a form of therapy.
Lisa Goldade, a guidance counselor at Minot-Central Campus, can be counted as one of that many. She took experiences from her childhood and wove them into a biographical tale that helped her put the past behind her.
In the beginning pages of her book, "Ugly Wrapping Paper Priceless Gift," Goldade recounted her experiences of growing up with an alcoholic: Her father, a man who smelled "of Aqua Velva and cigars in the day and whiskey at night," played an integral, yet damaging, part of her childhood. He was a man who left "a path of destruction through my life," but he also "made it possible for me to become who I am," Goldade wrote in the introduction of her book.
James C. Falcon/MDN - - Lisa Goldade, right, a guidance counselor at Minot High School-Central Campus and author of “Ugly Wrapping Paper Priceless Gift,” a book about her experiences with an alcoholic parent, signs a copy for Natalie Ulberg, left, Minot, at her book signing at Barnes and Noble Wednesday. The book, which Goldade wrote this summer, was the final chapter of her therapy.
James C. Falcon/MDN - - 'The last step that I was told through all of my counseling is to find something good that you could not have gotten any other way out of the experience, and to leave it behind.' - - Lisa Goldade, author
Through therapy, which she noted there was a lot of, she learned to dissect the past and take out the good, hence her title. She unwrapped the ugliness that was in her life and found the gift within, hence the title; as she stated, the gift was what made her Lisa Goldade.
There were specific incidents, which Goldade relates in the book, that had the potential to haunt her. Instead, she has risen like a phoenix from the ashes the ashes, in this case, represented a fiery and tormented childhood and the subsequent years.
The book, she explained Wednesday at her book signing at Barnes and Noble, was the final step of her therapy.
"The last step that I was told through all of my counseling is to find something good that you could not have gotten any other way out of the experience, and to leave it behind," she said.
Goldade said it was empowering to know that the trials and tribulations that occurred in her childhood were reduced to words on a page.
"You can deal with words on a page," she pointed out.
Goldade began writing in July, "and it was a pretty quick write," she said of the 45-page book.
"I didn't have any peace until I published it; I never planned on publishing it," she said, noting that she was envisioning a "a short story kind of thing."
But then, she said, she got a call from a publisher, who urged Goldade to follow through and publish it herself. "She felt it had an audience," she said.
With the book, Goldade found a personal focus group: her family, who reacted with "tears, but definitely support."
Her three sisters and one brother, plus their mother, read the book and liked it.
"They said it was pretty accurate," she said. "I don't know if they dealt with all the things I did, but its a difficult thing to close a book and leave it behind. I don't know where they are at along the way, but they have to be close to the end as well."
In three sections of the book, Goldade went through the healing process. First, she described specific memories of growing up with an alcoholic father. Then came the "unwrapping," where she was "in a place without hope, and then you find it at exactly the right moment ... and you discover you can unwrap it and you don't have to sit and look at the ugliness."
The book concludes with "the gift," which she described as "the person that I am."
The book is available for $15.99 at Barnes and Noble, as well as Amazon.com, and is also available electronically.