Our hope is that The Seattle School will be led by our alumni and their stories—how they labor to live out their calling among the people and communities they serve. Jocelyn Skillman, Supervisor of Alumni Outreach, connected recently with Megan Febuary, MATC ’14, to learn more about how her studies at The Seattle School have been foundational to her work as a creative coach helping women share their stories and heal from trauma. In 2021 she published her first book, For Women Who Roar.
What did you study at The Seattle School?
I came to The Seattle School to study therapy, but once I was immersed in the program and my artistry became pronounced, I realized I wasn’t interested in being a therapist, at least not in the traditional way, and so I changed my degree to Master of Arts in Theology and Culture (MATC) where my thesis was on “The Body as Storyteller: Trauma, Body, and Integration,” graduating in 2014. I had always been an artist and writer at my core, it had been the way I processed past pain, and so I wanted to help others do the same through writing, art, and the creative process.
How did you develop your book mentorship work?
In some ways, I’ve always been a creative guide. I remember creating my first collection of short stories and poems about me and my friends and what we had gone through so far in our lives. I printed it out, stapled it together, and called it “The Stories We Dare To Tell”. I still have this little book and keep it on my writing desk for inspiration. Later on in college, I began hosting safe haven circles for women to write their trauma stories and share them. It always felt natural to me, to curate creative healing spaces, and even though I took detours from time to time with career moves, it always led me right back here to this central story work.
After launching multiple online and print literary publications, I kept seeing a need for book coaching and editing, specifically with a focus that was trauma-informed. I developed a methodology that allows for customized book coaching services meeting folks where they are to help them craft, write, and edit their sacred first draft from start to finish in a kind and creatively consensual way. At this point, I have published over a thousand writers in my literary magazines, worked with hundreds on their book writing, and created programs to help people dive into the healing journey through creative recovery via the arts and writing.
These days, I offer mostly 1:1 book coaching and editing, specialized group programs, and creative resources through my own writing.
What’s your favorite part about your work? Anything you’d like to share about your process?
Oh man, where to begin? I would start by saying it’s witnessing another own their voice and creativity for the first time, as well as helping them understand that this process of writing and creating is truly sacred because, with every word we write and every art piece we create, we are advocating for the young creative within us.
My passion for storytelling began at a young age with my own creative journey in writing and art as a form of healing trauma. Before there were linear stories to tell, I had poetry, metaphor, and my messy artistic process. I truly believe this process is at the heart of our healing and creative recovery. It’s not always about the end product, but who we will become in the process of creating it. My hope, always, is to help folks embrace the messy process of becoming and learn to heal their stories along the way.
How does your training at The Seattle School inform your work? Are there any academic/formational touchstones from your graduate education that continue to inform your work now?
My studies at The Seattle School were foundational to my own writing and art, as well as the services I offer to others. My background in narrative therapy and trauma studies, especially as it relates to the body as a storyteller allows me to hold space for my clients with kindness, compassion, and curiosity, and more importantly, help them learn to do that for themselves.
There are so many experiences that changed my life through TSS, but the two that come to the surface for me now in regard to my work were The Artist Residency and Story Work through Dan Allender’s teachings. Both helped me name the hard truths of my story, begin to really listen to my younger self, and create from the bare bones of my life.
What else would you like to share with us?!
I published my first poetry collection in 2021 called For Women Who Roar and am currently writing my memoir Flood Days to be released by 2024 along with a few art projects in tow. Life is such a wild ride, one that has made me dizzy at times, but it has been so entirely worth it. I have a number of ways for folks to work with me at yourbookyear.com/links and read my writing at https://healyourstory.substack.com/.