AURA is more than a memoir— it’s a spell book for survival, a powerful promise from mother to son, and an intimate examination of power, spirituality, and the abuse of both.
AURA is more than a memoir— it’s a spell book for survival, a powerful promise from mother to son, and an intimate examination of power, spirituality, and the abuse of both. Hillary Leftwich weaves together the stories of her life to create startlingly raw memories that are both personal and profoundly universal. She explores the devastating impact of patriarchy in her own life while searching for answers in witchcraft, womanhood, and motherhood. Urgently portrayed and deeply felt, AURA is a complex tapestry of letters, spells, and memories. Her story is a vivid confrontation against an unforgiving world that traps women and children in the systems meant to save them. This is a story for seekers, searchers, and anyone in the process of saving themselves and their loved ones.
"There were seven of us in our writing group reading pieces of AURA, and at times we’d all be stuck in tears and had to get ourselves together to try to give feedback. I’m doing the same while trying to write this blurb, and now I realize that was/is the feedback: stuck in tears and awe of Hillary’s vulnerability and shadows, and she’s gracious enough to offer us protection and strength while doing so. Even my crying while reading feels protected. Hillary Leftwich admits to having resistance to writing about her childhood because it feels dirty and secretive. But AURA engages with resistance by pushing into the dirt and secrecy and writing from those places because it feels necessary for survival and healing." —Steven Dunn, Whiting Award Winner, author of water & power
"A Psalm for AURA: I include this book in the care package I’m curating for my dead (Mother, this book is for you, too); I believe in the sort of grace that erupts while standing in line at the E-Zee Check 24hr Payday Loan; I affirm the power of whatever you have on hand to save your ass; I uphold writing as a potential site of transformative magic. Fuck the Patriarchy. Let the visionaries to the front of the line. Let Hillary Leftwich to the front and may her remarkable memoir be read and celebrated far and wide." —Selah Saterstrom, author of Ideal Suggestions and Slab
"Unfortunately both trauma and spousal abuse are common experiences, but there is nothing common about Leftwich’s approach to writing down her bones. When she writes about the “careless words” doctors use, we see it as the motivation behind her own meticulously careful compositions. As she finds control upon the page, she finds control in life. As epilepsy seizes the body of her son, again and again, Leftwich’s story seizes us, and through the fractured narrative, we learn it’s not reliability the author’s aiming for when she makes this montage of clinical paperwork and Hail Mary’s, but alchemy. The form recollects the hermit crab shell narratives Susanna Kaysen employed when she wrote her own memoir, Girl, Interrupted while the storyline summons to mind Stephanie Land’s Maid, but AURA is indeed a love letter. Written to her child, but also to and for herself, and to and for all of us. Hillary Leftwich writes a way forward in which she rescues herself and teaches us how to do the same." –Sarah Elizabeth Schantz, author of Fig
Literary Nonfiction. Memoir. Women's Studies. Hybrid.
Hillary Leftwich Website
Hillary Leftwich is the author of Ghosts Are Just Strangers Who Know How to Knock (CCM Press/The Accomplices 2019). Her hybrid poetry and CNF collection, Saint Dymphna's Playbook, is forthcoming from PANK Books in 2023. She is the founder and owner of Alchemy Author Services & Workshop, teaches at Lighthouse Writers, and is a creative writing professor at the University of Denver and an assistant creative writing professor at Colorado College. She focuses her writing on class struggle, single motherhood, trauma, mental illness, the supernatural, ritual, and the impact of neurological disease. She is an intuitive Tarologist and has been reading Tarot for over 25 years coupled with her clair abilities and studies under several well-known psychic medium mentors. She teaches Tarot and Tarot writing workshops focusing on strengthening divination abilities as well as writing. She lives in Denver with her partner, son, and a cat named Larry.