Welcome Alle C. Hall and her strong authorial voice

Choices is so pleased to host Alle C. Hall during her WOW! WOMEN ON WRITING TOUR of her book: As Far As You Can Go Before You Have to Come Back. It’s a runaway story with a whole different twist.

Alle has also written a guest post for us about how creativity and trauma are linked. We certainly agree with that. Choices has had many essays about how healing writing is.

Here’s Alle C. Hall.


The Link Between Creativity and Trauma

by Alle C. Hall

Trauma sits like a stone over the part of the brain that stimulates creativity, squashing it. Children who grow up effected by trauma use their creativity primarily to stay alive. In the U.S. alone, five In the U.S. in 2021, an estimated 1,820 children died from abuse and neglect.

There are other trauma responses, as well. For example, the survivor might plunge obsessively into their art, or computer programming.

A second way of coping might result in worldly success.  While nice for the bottom line and the ego, fame and fortune is not always an emotionally satisfying existence.

More sad news and then—I promise!—I’ll get to the positive stuff. An adult impacted by sexual violence may have the same response as the child. Adult survivors often report that they can no longer focus, that they find it difficult to motivate themselves. That is trauma, clamping down. And there go creative impulses.

Certainly, any trauma survivor will be at great er risk for addictive behaviors. Few things get between and artist and their creativity as active addictions to food, sex and love, alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, shopping, work, and gambling, among others. I hope that you can see your behaviors in that list. As hard as it is to face them, help is easily available—12-Step meeting, anyone? The newly-popular DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy)? And as the power of my addiction receded, my creativity emerges.

As did awareness of the trauma, which can also heal—in no small part from creative expression I had no idea I was a writer until I was twenty-six years old. I never had an impulse to write anything longer than a letter. Finding an artistic outlet, and now a career, has been life-affirming. Empowering. Where as I grew up being used, today: I create. I am here. I matter.

Tai chi and it’s non-martial cousin, Qi gong (pronounced “chee gong” or “ki gong”), are a proven way to help a survivor heal from trauma. Although done slowly, with a meditative grace, those deceptively quiet tai chi moves have martial application. Qi gong’s sole purpose is to balance the body’s organs and systems; in a word: health.

The ability to respond to life’s difficult situations with equilibrium is blown out of the water by trauma. Tai chi and Qi gong lead survivors back to mental health without necessarily focusing on it. Survivors can spend ten, twenty minutes a day, a full hour if they like, moving with joy, building peace. We prove to ourselves that beauty, grace, humor, resilience—all exist; and that we can be a part of them through expressing our creativity.



Book Summary

Nominated for The National Book Award and The Pacific Northwest Booksellers Book Award, Alle C. Hall’s debut literary novel, As Far As You Can Go Before You Have to Come Back is a-girl-and-her-backpack story with a #MeToo influence:

Carlie is not merely traveling. A child sexual abuse survivor, as a teen she steals ten thousand dollars from her parents and runs away to Asia. There, the Lonely Planet path of hookups, heat, alcohol, and drugs takes on a terrifying reality. Landing in Tokyo in the late 1980s, Carlie falls in with an international crew of tai chi-practicing backpackers. With their help, Carlie has the chance at a journey she didn’t plan for: one to find the self-respect ripped from her as a child and the healthy sexuality she desires.

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

ISBN-10: 1685131476

ISBN-13: 978-1685131470


Print Length: 267 pages

Purchase a copy of the book on Amazon, Bookshop.org, or Barnes and Noble. Make sure you also add it to your GoodReads reading list.


About the Author

Nominated for The National Book Award and The Pacific Northwest Booksellers Book Award, Alle C. Hall’s debut literary novel, As Far As You Can Go Before You Have to Come Back was winning prizes before its publication, including the National League of American Pen Women’s Mary Kennedy Eastham Prize. Her short stories and essays appear in journals including Dale Peck’s Evergreen ReviewTupelo QuarterlyNew World WritingLitro, Creative Nonfiction, and Another Chicago. She has written for The Seattle TimesSeattle Weekly, and was a contributing writer at The Stranger. She is the former senior nonfiction editor at jmww journal and the former associate editor of Vestal Review. Hall lived in Asia, traveled there extensively, speaks what she calls “clunky” Japanese, and has a tai chi practice of 35 years running.

Find her online at:

Website: https://allehall.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/allechallwriter

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/allec.hall/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/allechall1

Substack: https://allechall.substack.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alle-c-hall-36a588159/

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