3 Questions with Tracy Penfield of SafeArt

Submitted 2 years ago
Created by
Lisa and Lisa of the Book Jam

Another great reason to spend some time at the Norwich Bookstore

As part of our mission to promote authors, the joy of reading, and to help independent booksellers, The Book Jam has paired with the The Norwich Bookstore in Norwich, Vermont to present an ongoing series entitled “3 Questions”. In it, we pose three questions to authors with upcoming visits to the bookstore. (We have a rotating list of six possible questions to ask just to keep things interesting.) Their responses are posted on The Book Jam during the days leading up to their engagement. Our hope is that this exchange will offer insight into their work, will encourage readers to attend these special author events, and ultimately, will inspire some great reading.


This week we feature Tracy Penfield, dancer, artist, author, and founder of SafeArt. Ms. Penfield founded SafeArt in Chelsea, VT, after 20 years as an artist and educator in fiber arts and dance. Her experience in an abusive relationship from the age of 14 to 29 gave her a distinctive perspective on how her students were responding to creative expression. Wanting to work across the spectrum of prevention to recovery from traumatic abuse gave rise to the concept of SafeArt in 2000.

A Curriculum of Courage: Making Safeart Cover ImageMs. Penfield will visit the Norwich Bookstore in Norwich, Vermont at 7 pm on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 to discuss her book - A Curriculum of Courage: Making SafeArt. The event is free and open to the public. However, reservations are recommended as space is limited.  Call 802-649-1114 or email info@norwichbookstore.com to save your seat.

When Women Were Birds: Fifty-Four Variations on Voice Cover ImageThe Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma Cover Image

1.What three books have helped shape you into the author you are today, and why?

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The Art of the Dance by Isadora Duncan inspired me as a young adult who was discovering the language of the body, of dance. Her unbridled passion and how she managed to translate that passion from movement in space to words on paper seemed fresh and valid then and now. (Unfortunately, this book is out of print; thus, we are unable to link it to the Norwich Bookstore.)

When Women were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams and all of Terry’s oeuvre have been keeping me going for years, quite literally. Terry and I met just out of college through a mutual close friend and have stayed in touch over the years. Her writing is authentic in a way that I want mine to be, whether it be memoir or curriculum or anecdotes about others from my work. Authenticity, passion and no holding back are tenets I have gleaned from Terry.

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk is a new book, relatively speaking, published in 2014. My book had been underway for a number of years by then and this work encouraged me to continue with certain threads and weave them into the fabric of my book. I feel that van der Kolk has written a treatise validating the healing work I do that is called Tracing.


2.What author (living or dead) would you most like to have a cup of coffee with and why?

I will first state that I have had the pleasure of numerous cups of tea, coffee and wine with Terry Tempest Williams, or I would choose her.

In terms of a relationship with the book I have just published and an author I have not had the honor of meeting, I would most like to sit and chat with Bessel van der Kolk. He is globally recognized in the field of Trauma healing and that he has written a book focusing on “the Body” is fabulous. To me the title (The Body Keeps the Score) of his book is not about the score in a game or competition but the metaphorical musical score of one’s life, including trauma release and management. I would love to discuss that with him!

Ordinary Wolves Cover ImageRed: Passion and Patience in the Desert Cover Image

3.What books are currently on your bedside table?

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