Author Interview & Guest Post - Marti MacGibbon
Never Give in to Fear: Laughing All the Way Up from Rock Bottom, the enhanced edition of this darkly funny, dramatic memoir, describes an emerging standup comic’s drug-fueled descent into the underworld, escape from human traffickers, homelessness, and ultimate redemption. With brutal honesty, humor, and clarity, the author vividly describes her experiences as she rides her downward spiral: a near-miss with a notorious serial killer, a series of tragically hilarious misadventures in the California drug world, and a terrifying account of imprisonment at the hands of Japanese organized crime, to name a few.
This revised and re-edited version contains three additional chapters that introduce readers to quirky characters, insights into standup comedy, resilience and recovery, and deliver an inspiring message about healing, hope, and courage to change.
What readers are saying …
“Marti MacGibbon shows readers just how rough the road to redemption is in her gritty memoir of addiction… Her raw, honest, casual, funny voice permeates every page… A dark yet inspiring look at conquering addiction and regaining hope.” –Kirkus Reviews
“Marti’s natural humor and storytelling help balance out the book into a symmetrical tale of both hurt and healing. Never Give in to Fear is a book everyone needs to read. This is not only a book about the danger of drugs, but about the power of the human spirit.” –San Francisco Book Review
“Her narration is funny—she can laugh at her old self, even as she shows the reader the terror and loss she felt in the past… Honest to a fault… captivating from the very first sentence. A memoir that offers hope, even in the worst of times, Never Give in to Fear is a terrific read.” –Claire Foster, Foreword Clarion Reviews
“It’s amazing that Marti MacGibbon survived her harrowing life and had the guts to recount it… not too preachy, the author’s candor and sense of humor keep the pages turning.” –Suzanne Daly, the bohemian.com
Today I took a long walk outside in the sunshine. An intensive work schedule and many different projects demanding my energy and attention have begun to put a dent in my enthusiasm and focus. I figured a mid-afternoon hike would help, and it did. But when I arrived back at the office to resume working, felt a heaviness, a sort of dread, which is weird, considering how much I love my work.
I took a moment to check in and observe my thoughts, and captured the bummer thought that caused the bad feeling. It was something like, “You have too many things to do. You’ll never do anything well because you’re stretched too thin.”
I realized I’d actually accepted that thought, unconsciously maybe, but still, when I accepted the thought it gave rise to the negative emotion. Immediately I took the opportunity to consciously employ optimistic thoughts and self-enhancing statements. I told myself, “I’m up to this! I can accomplish everything…but I’ll need to do one task at a time. I’ll do everything well because I believe in myself and my purpose.” Of course, the feeling of dread vanished, replaced by a sense of competence and self-assurance.
Responses like that are increasingly automatic for me now, but years ago I bounced back and forth between negative impulses and emotions, blaming outside circumstances and other people for the pain I experienced. I created crises and made dire predictions and self-fulfilling negative prophecies. Then I had an epiphany and my whole life changed.
I realized that the key to a brilliant future resides in the present moment. So does happiness, healing, personal growth and recovery. Whether we realize it or not, our happiness depends upon our positive belief in the future, that is, in a personal tomorrow. Most of what will transpire in our lives tomorrow is a direct result of how we think today. Fear breaks down the fabric of your existence, while positive belief in yourself will build it up.
As we move through the day, we’re constantly bombarded by messages. At home or at the office, the gym, or in the car, there’s a constant barrage of news media, advertising, texts, social media updates raining down on our consciousness. Many of these messages are negative and can adversely affect the way we think about ourselves, the world and life in general.
The self-empowering thing to do is create a buffer against negative thoughts, beliefs and attitudes and to think, act, feel and create from a deep inner well of peace, self-assurance and sense of purpose. When we live this way, we experience a better quality of life, deeper relationships with others, and greater satisfaction with our accomplishments.
You can if you think you can. When you embrace positive, self-enhancing beliefs, you enable yourself to smash through limitations you may have set in the past. Personally, I use mantras and affirmations to reset the way I think about myself, life, and other people. And I find that I need employ tools like that on a regular basis. When we’re not proactive about our good thoughts, negative thoughts will move back in and take over the party, so to speak.
Practice thinking of yourself as successful, loved, and effective. Visualize yourself surrounded by everything you need. The thoughts and images you carry in your mind in this moment will manifest themselves in your personal future. This process works especially well when you attach an emotional tag to the visualization.
Emotions are powerful forces. Positive emotions, especially love, courage and gratitude, are extremely dynamic. You can harness creative forces by basking in a positive feeling while meditating, visualizing, or making affirmations about tomorrow.
Of course, you still need to do all the legwork, that is, put in the effort, build, network and accomplish all that you can in a given day. But the magic, the power, is in believing in yourself and in your life’s purpose. Recovery and healing from past pain will give you the power to release accumulated fear and build faith that you can, and are building a new lifestyle, and a new future.
Author Interview – Marti MacGibbon
Marti MacGibbon, human trafficking survivor and recovering addict, is an author, humorous inspirational speaker and standup comic who holds four professional certifications in addiction treatment, including the ACRPS, Advanced Certified Relapse Prevention Specialist. Marti is a member of the National Speakers Association and her articles have appeared in numerous trade publications and magazines. She’s been interviewed in Investors Business Daily and Entrepreneur.
Marti was one of the first women to work as a laborer in the Texas oilfield. She set off explosives for an exploration company for a brief period of time and then learned surveying skills, staking oil wells. She moved on to standup comedy and was scheduled for an appearance on The Tonight Show, but Marti became entangled in the California drug scene and plunged into the underworld and serious drug addiction. After being trafficked to Japanese organized crime and escaping, she suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and was homeless for over a year, but ultimately found true love, recovery and forgiveness. Her darkly humorous and dramatic memoir, “Never Give in to Fear,” tells the story, and the narration brings alive a host of quirky characters and bungling criminals.
“Never Give in to Fear” has received critical praise from Foreword Clarion and San Francisco Book Review. The enhanced edition, “Never Give in to Fear: Laughing All the Way Up from Rock Bottom,” received an editorial recommendation from Kirkus Reviews and an award for Best Revised Edition from Books-and-Authors.net.
Tell us about your book. – Never Give in to Fear: Laughing All the Way Up from Rock Bottom is a memoir, and it’s gritty and raw. It’s fast-paced, funny in many places, sad, scary and disturbing in other places. The book describes what happened to me after I got booked for an appearance on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. I got mixed up with a bad boyfriend and slid into the San Francisco drug scene, then ended up getting sold to Japanese organized crime figures – a victim of human trafficking. After escaping, I spent a year or so homeless on the streets, and during that time I met my ideal mate, the guy I eventually married. It contains suspense, comedy, a cautionary tale, and plenty of hilarious misadventures in the drug world and the world of standup comedy. It’s a very unusual comeback story. Not many women experience the things I have – rape, beatings, desperation, hard-core addiction and homelessness – and survive, let alone live to heal, look back and find laughter. I wrote my book for everyone, because every living person’s journey includes learning to give, and to accept, love and forgiveness.
Tell us a bit about your family. – Our house was filled with laughter and high energy. Even though my folks helped me and my four siblings to develop confidence in ourselves academically and socially, I became a hard-core addict as an adult. During my lowest point, when I was ashamed to call home for over a year, my family never lost hope. The strength I carried with me when I was an addict and homeless was the ability to laugh, something I learned in childhood. And the most amazing thing of all the crazy stuff in my life is that while I was an addict, homeless and hitchhiking, this good-looking, nice guy gave me a lift in his truck. I ended up marrying him. After twenty-five years, he’s still the love of my life.
What is your favorite quality about yourself? – I’m resilient, and my sense of humor is a big part of that. Not only can I look back at the past and laugh, but I can also inspire others as a professional speaker.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself? – I have a tendency to push myself too hard, or take on too many things at once. So I practice a program of daily self-care, to keep things balanced.
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why? – “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as if nothing is a miracle, the other is as if everything is.” — Albert Einstein said that, and I love it, because whenever I say it, Einstein and I have got something in common. And the quote is uplifting.
What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life? – I’ve come a long way — rebounded from hard-core drug addiction, domestic violence, homelessness, and being sold into human trafficking in Japan. I can now let others know that no matter how low your low point, you can create positive transformation by changing the way you think about yourself, the world and other people.
What is your favorite color? — Red. Except at a stoplight, and then it’s green.
What is your favorite food? – That’s a tough one. I love so many foods! Cookies. Guacamole. Blueberries.
What’s your favorite place in the entire world? — Can I have two faves? Sonoma County, California, in the Russian River Valley. That’s where I met my true love, my husband Chris. And Los Angeles! I love L.A.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing? — My father was an English professor who taught me to love literature. My mom was a voracious reader. They introduced me to the classics and contemporary writers, and took time to discuss books with me. And I grew up in a very funny family, which is one reason why my memoir, Never in to Fear, isn’t a downer. It has a lot of funny moments even though it talks about scary and tragic experiences.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? — I’ve been a voracious reader all my life, but didn’t begin writing till later on. When I was a standup comic, I began to write material, and I rose quickly, getting booked on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. But I never actually appeared on the show, because my life took a downward turn. Then I got strung out and lived through all the experiences in Never Give in to Fear. After turning my life around, I went back to standup and started writing jokes again and working around the country in comedy clubs and colleges. I moved to L.A. and started working at the Comedy Store, Improv and other clubs, and found a couple of coffeehouses where people told stories, not jokes. I started going to those shows and telling stories from my past. People really liked those stories! They would come up to me after a performance and say things like, “Wow! You have really lived,” or “That was hilarious,” and one night a professional writer suggested I put the stories into a book. I enrolled in college as an English major. And during my first semester I did a one-woman show, an eight or ten-week run, in a little theater in L.A., and the L.A. Weekly gave me a rave review. My creative writing professor began encouraging me to write my autobiography. This professor, Dr. Bill Wallis, is a Pulitzer-nominated poet, so I began to take it seriously. But I still didn’t think I could do it. Dr. Wallis suggested I focus on one bit at a time, and then to assemble all the pieces. As I adopted that attitude, it began to seem possible, but I still held back.
When and why did you begin writing? – A longtime friend of mine who is an amazing comedian, actor and writer, began encouraging me to tell my story in a book. And as my professor had done, he advised me to write it in pieces, and then assemble all the pieces later on in the process. My friend told me to write it all down, not to worry about getting it perfect, and it would gradually come together. And that’s what I did. Writing Never Give in to Fear launched me on my journey as author.
How long have you been writing? – I began writing in 2002, in English class, with a narrative essay. I got an A+ and newfound confidence. I began writing Never Give in to Fearin 2004, with a working title, Long Odds, because the odds were against my surviving, let alone finding love, healing, and prosperity after all my past experiences. I took a few years off from writing to go to school and train as an addiction treatment professional, and after completing my training and accepting a position as a program counselor to homeless veterans, I gave all my time and effort to my job and to my clients. But my passion for continuing the work I’d begun on Never Give in to Fear spurred me to finish it.
When did you first know you could be a writer? – I began to realize I had some writing ability when my English professor began encouraging me to write a book. After I began writing my memoir, I sent chapters to friends of mine, professional writers who had already published both fiction and non-fiction works. They gave honest feedback and encouragement, and I began to envision my own finished book. So I recommend that anyone who wants to write a book should go for it!