The Hub AU alum pens new novel a Meh Life Crisis

AU alum pens new novel a Meh Life Crisis

With a background in communications and health promotion, Taryn Pawlivsky launched a magazine and website for youth to start conversations about mental health and suicide. She also produced a TV fashion series with West Edmonton Mall, and was published in Western Canada’s Fashion Week magazine and the online Examiner. When writing creatively in her spare time, Taryn enjoys making the everyday mundane a bit more interesting and entertaining.

A new novel by AU alum Taryn Pawlivsky explores the “meh” feeling that hits during midlife

Set in Edmonton, Alta., the novel follows the story of Katherine (Kit) and takes you through her midlife “meh” moment as she tries to “bust out of her boredom, come to terms with the aging process, and make changes in her life for the better”.

We spoke with Pawlivsky to learn more about her novel, the process she took to write it, and how her Bachelor of Professional Arts in Communication Studies helped her along the way. You can order a copy of her debut novel on Amazon and can follow along by visiting the novel’s Instagram or Facebook page.

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Why did you choose to pursue a Bachelor of Professional Arts in Communication Studies from AU?

I wanted a degree in my chosen field of public relations and communications, and I was intrigued by the courses that AU offered in this area. I also wanted to continue working while I study, and I was able to do that successfully by taking the degree program online. There were a variety of instructors, and I appreciated the fact that some of them lived and worked in other parts of Canada.

Taryn Pawlivsky

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Your book was inspired by a single conversation—can you tell us more about that conversation?

Yes. Chapter 1 is based on a “real life” conversation I had with a woman in the locker room at the YMCA. My response to one of her questions was so ‘off the cuff’ and unexpected, that we both burst out laughing. When I reiterated this same conversation during a PR function at a wine bar downtown, the table of women started to laugh out loud. I thought to myself, “What if I wrote the conversation down?” A week later I did just that, and next thing you know I was, as they say, on a “writing roll.”

Taryn Pawlivsky

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Where there other things that helped inspire you when writing your book?

Overall, my life experience to date inspired the book. And many of the people I’ve met along this crazy life journey were a source of inspiration. I wrote my 86-year-old friend Mary in as well, as she’s travelled the world, still lives independently, and is razor-sharp, savvy, and sassy. Local events and places also inspired parts of the book, and even though there are a few name changes, people will be able to recognize them.

Taryn Pawlivsky

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Can you tell us more about your book and what a reader might gain from reading it?

My readers tell me they see parts of themselves and their lives in it. They say that it’s not only funny but also relatable. That’s what I’m most proud of: being able to tell a story that people can identify with and get something out of. Because I’ve been working in the area of mental health for many years, it was important that I interject positive psychology into the book. There are exercises grounded in this concept that the therapist gives the main character to do (e.g., gratitude, journaling), to help her move beyond “meh” and find purpose and meaning.

Taryn Pawlivsky

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Can you describe the process it took to write your book?

A lot of research for sure. There’s a scene where the protagonist goes out on the town with a millennial to feel young again and she ends up drinking too many cocktails. So I researched the old, classic drinks like the Manhattan and the White Russian, which has an interesting history behind it. So no matter how light or serious the subject matter, there’s research behind every chapter. After I wrote the first chapter, I then started outlining. It’s nearly impossible (for me anyway) to continue writing unless I have at least some idea about where I’m going with a story and what I want to say.

Taryn Pawlivsky

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Did you find that the skills from your BPA helped you when writing your book?

Yes, definitely. Going through the BPA in Communication Studies program at AU honed my writing and editing skills even further. I also had to do a lot of research and this skill is a required one for any career—and absolutely critical when crafting a story.

Taryn Pawlivsky

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What’s next for you?

Another book I hope! I’ve started the process by doing a bit of research and thinking about different scenes and scenarios. Again, I want this to be a relatable read so I want to highlight everyday events and experiences that shape our lives and the world around us.

Taryn Pawlivsky

Published:
  • June 11, 2020