Former educator-turned-author Mona Hunt will be featured at a 6-8 p.m. dedication event on Monday, March 28 at Taytro Restaurant, 331 N. Creek Drive, Festus.
Hunt, 64, of Crystal City, with illustrator Matt Murphy of Imperial, will sign copies of ‘The Chains That Bound Us’, a collection of poems designed to foster awareness and understanding of trauma such as substance addiction.
“We’ll have 250 copies for sale,” Hunt said. “You can have them signed on the way in. I’m going to read some of the articles, and Matt and I will give a brief talk. I have invited 16 local agencies to join us, and some of them will also speak. These are agencies that provide resources for people dealing with all kinds of trauma – food pantries, churches, homeless youth group, sober living group, sheriff’s office, Comtrea, Hillsboro backpack program – who help families in difficulty.
Brian Kasmarzik, Hunt’s alumnus, will provide live music, and Taytro’s will offer a special, limited-purchase menu during the non-alcoholic event.
“They’re creating two special dishes just for that night,” Hunt said. “They’re normally closed on Mondays, and they’re so generous in helping us spread the message and the movement to spread the love.
“I think it’s going to be a powerful night, and it’s open to everyone.”
Inspirational problem solvers
Hunt has been an educator for more than 40 years, starting as an elementary school teacher, then moving to council, then to at-risk program director at Hillsboro High School.
“We have all experienced trauma, and I have witnessed it many times,” she said. “I trained in traumatology. People don’t always understand the impact of trauma.
Hunt self-published his book through St. Louis-based Publishing Concepts. Although this is Hunt’s first book, she said she has been writing poetry since middle school.
“I write as an outlet for myself, to try to make sense of things that don’t make sense,” she said. “I hope my book and my illustrator’s story will strike a chord and inspire people to be more compassionate, more loving. I want them to stop and think, ‘What is this person? had to endure? What made them go through these challenges? Then to look around me and say, ‘How can I help?’ whether it’s giving financial support, volunteering, whatever. I try to inspire them to help solve problems. People want to be, they just don’t know where to start.
She said Murphy, another former student and recovering drug addict, had his own story to tell that could be encouraging and inspiring.
“His mom and I were besties since sixth grade,” Hunt said. “He is a gifted young man, extremely bright and talented in many different genres. I hope this will open a door to a career for him, a vehicle for his passion for art. I tell a story with words; he brings it to life with images.
In addition to poetry, Hunt said the book includes trauma-informed breathing and art exercises, as well as resources to help those recovering.
“A lot of times when we’re caught in a negative loop, we can try to break that up by taking a moment, stepping away, breathing, and starting again from a more positive point,” she said.
“These activities encourage people to recognize their feelings and express them through art. The book explores themes like faith, hope, and love, and how they help heal from trauma. It illustrates the transformation from despair to self-forgiveness and then to moving forward.
“The whole theme of the evening is that love never fails. It sounds simple, but love allows us to heal and let go of our past so we can live in the present. That’s really the answer.
Copies of “The Chains That Bound Us” are available for purchase online for $15.95 in print and $13.95 in e-book format. Visit the website at publicationsconceptsllc.com.