Student Spotlight- Linda’s Story

Student Spotlight- Linda’s Story
November 14, 2013 4 Comments Writing Lynneklippel

Over the last couple of months I’ve had the joy of working closely with a group of writers on my 7 Writing Archetypes and their corresponding templates.  It’s a system I developed that Empty stage.helps people clarify their writing voice for each article, blog post, or book chapter, and then use a template to ensure all the key elements of that voice are incorporated within the writing.

It was the first time I taught the material and students far exceeded my expectations.  They wrote great stuff!  I am so proud of each of them.

Here’s an example from Linda Gourdine-Hunt, one of the class participants.  She wrote this article based on the Wounded Healer Archetype and created a moving and triumphant article.

Linda graciously agreed to share her writing to help inspire all of you.


The Wounded Healer 

by Linda Gourdine-Hunt

October 7, 2013

I remember as a child we had a rhyme that went something like this:

“Rich man, Poor Man, Beggar man, Thief,

Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief”


As we sang that rhyme while jumping double dutch, we never wanted the rope to collapse on “poor man,” “beggar man” or “thief.” If it did, we would shout “Do Over! Do Over!  Somehow we instinctively knew enough to resist such a low stance in life.

I would sometimes wonder what I was going to be when I grew up. I often had dreams of being a nun – yes, me, a nun, because I liked helping people.  I was always the teacher when we played school and the mother when we played house.

My parents were southerners and well acquainted with the limitations placed on people of color during that time.  They strove to give us – their children- a part of the American Dream. We lived in Farragut Housing Projects in Brooklyn, New York during my elementary school years. In the 5th grade they decided to “bus” me and one of my brothers to a school in the predominately white, upper class, Prospect Park section of Brooklyn.  During the fifth grade, I was in class with the kids who rode with me on the bus – the kids from other housing projects. We pretty much stayed to ourselves.

However, promotion to the sixth grade proved to be a painful experience as I was one of three “Negroes” in my sixth grade class and was often subjected to teasing, rejection, and misunderstanding. It was culture shock for me.  The way my classmates dressed, the jewelry they wore, and the money they had for lunch was so different from my world.  I think the worst part of all was feeling like an “outcast” especially when no one wanted to hold my hand as we lined up two by two for the walk to our classroom from the schoolyard. I was almost always the last one to be picked for team play and contests.

My saving grace at that school was Mr. “D” my 5th grade teacher, a white, and I believe Italian man.  He was very sensitive and supportive to what I was going through.  Sometimes he would find me crying in the hallway and would say “Linda you’re smart and you’re just as good as they are.” His pep talks helped me through that difficult 6th grade year.  I took and passed an advanced academic test and as a result was seldom the last one to be chosen for the team spelling bees.  However, at the end of the 6th grade, I vowed never to return to that school in my life. And I went on to enjoy a reasonable measure of success, believing I had overcome the experience.

Upon receiving The Wounded Healer Archetype assignment, I decided to write about my “busing challenge”, believing I had overcome.  The very memories of those days were raw, painfully uncomfortable and moved me to tears. I realized that I was not healed. So, I determined it was time to face this giant – it was time to forgive – now is the time to take action and heal.  And so on September 26, 2013, I got on the “F” train to the Prospect Park station and took Bus 68 to 11th Avenue. Walking toward the school gave me an adrenalin rush. Looking around, it seemed like time stood still, everything looked exactly the same.

Boldly approaching, and with anxious anticipation of my freedom from the sludge of 50 years of unforgiveness, I walked around the school. Focusing on the playground, I noticed there were minority staff and grinned as I looked at the flagpole reminiscing about the Maypole ceremony we performed those two years.  I then went into the school to inquire about the teachers and principal who used to be there.

And then the time came. Looking upward, I placed my hands on the fence in front of the school and as the faces of those who hurt me appeared, I genuinely forgave each and every one of them.  I said a prayer of thanksgiving to God, blew three kisses of goodwill toward my school of hard knocks and walked away smiling.

 I am relieved – I am free – I am a Wounded Healer

 To the reader:  Be an Agent of Love! Hasten to Forgive Those Who Hurt You! Be Healed!


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  1. 1

    Rebecca Field

    What an excellent piece of writing! Memorable and very extremely helpful for a project I am currently working on. You filled in a huge piece of the racial puzzle for me. I feel that the race problem in the US is a problem of white people and I am working on something that will hopefully be a tiny step in the correction of the problem. What you helped me see was that the African-American side of the problem is the ability to forgive the indignities and injustices that have been given to people of color especially.

  2. 1

    Tammy Alvarado

    What an incredible piece of writing!!! It’s beautiful to see that Linda took courageous steps to her freedom. : )

  3. 1


    It was a good read Linda. Thank you. I walked into the school for your return visit WITH YOU. It was that well written. Thanks for the experience. I felt a lightness at the end as well.

    Holding on to hate means THEY WIN and we don’t want that! I was lucky to be raised by loving, gentle, tolerant parents who saw potential in everyone and gave anyone a first, second and third chance to prove it.

    I personally experienced bone-deep hate like that more than once in my childhood. When I walked home from school one sunny day, it quickly turned dark and dangerous as I rounded my corner and saw 5-foot high swastikas painted in red on my wooden stockade fence, the drips of paint staining the grass below. It only took my father 20 minutes to cover up the hate but it took me months, maybe even years, to stop shaking with anger when it would cross my memory.

    I can still see the swastikas in my mind’s eye, five decades later. I can see the uneven brush strokes, the angles of the symbol slammed onto the wood in haste and in hate. About 25 years ago, I read about other hate crimes and sent out prayers to both parties. It gave me peace to go through a process of forgiving. I wish you peace as well.

    I forgot about double-dutch and “rich man, poor man…” as well. Thanks for bringing back THAT memory as well.

    Create your best day,
    Alli Berman

    1. 1

      Lynne Klippel

      Allie- thanks for sharing this memory with us. It must have been a frightening experience. I’m so glad you found a way to forgive and find peace. Hate in any form is such an ugly thing. You and Linda found ways to make something beautiful out of others’ hateful acts. You are my heroes!


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