I’d like to share one of the poems mailed to me by Pat Green from Chicago who started a group called Y.A.S.O.  (Young Adults Speak Out).  This poem was one of many poems and letters written from teens who are trying their best to figure out life.  These kids have a voice!


Empty, broken-hearted and alone. I spend my life blasting music and trying to come up with a reason as to why everything must suck so much, and stressing out about what’s going to happen next. My parents fight 24/7 and take alot of their anger out on my little sister and me. I’m hated by most and loved by few. Y.A.S.O. is the only thing I have to a real family and I only have that once or twice  a month. It’s my one and only escape from stress and thoughts of suicide. The pressure of keeping what little things I have left is slowly killing me. What hurts the most is knowing I’m one of many. Knowing others have it the same or worse. And for those freaking out about boyfriend or girlfriend problems or why a couple people dislike them…appreciate what you do have. Because you never know, it could all be gone in the blink of an eye.


9 Responses to “Voices”

  1. Lisa Says:

    Hi Dawn,

    I’ve been following your blog for quite some time; I check in and read every so often and am elated that your autobiography has finally been published. I’m on vacation this week and planning a trip to my local Barnes & Noble tomorrow morning. Any excuse to go to B&N works for me, but this time it’s specifically to buy your book. I’m certain I’ll be up into the wee hours reading it, and I’m chomping at the bit.

    I’m not the sort of person who randomly comments on a stranger’s blog, but your strength and courage have moved me to speak up. I saw “Wonderland” quite a few years ago and couldn’t forget it. The critics (and apparently a few drive-by commentors here) dismissed it as a group of scumbags reaping what they had sewn. I didn’t see that at all. I saw a story about human beings. I find it sad that so many in our society seem to have little patience, understanding or even sympathy for people struggling with addictions. Speaking strictly for myself, I have little patience with self-righteous douchebags who make sweeping generalizations and get off on being snarky in cyberspace. How fortunate for them that they haven’t found themselves in your shoes, or Susan Launius’s shoes, or Barbara Richardson’s (let’s not forget Sharon Holmes, who should be nominated for sainthood). I’m not especially religious, but as the saying goes, “There but for the grace of God…”

    Just the fact that you survived all of this is amazing in itself. What’s even more amazing and admirable is your commitment to helping other people through your own experience, which has to be painful to re-live. Every time I read one of your posts, I come away with the feeling that you are a sensitive, compassionate and sincere person, and that’s amazing because I can’t even begin to fathom how you have the patience to deal with unstable internet stalkers, spammers, et cetera. You’ve also managed to overcome addiction and have written a memoir that is receiving positive reviews. Kudos and congratulations to you, Dawn Schiller. I think you’re an extraordinary human being. Don’t let the bozos get you down.


  2. Lisa Says:

    One more thing (and yeah, I know it’s late and I’m a pre-menopausal-insomniac-afflicted-chain-smoking-hormonal-red-hot mess).

    I just read an excerpt from the book over at http://www.bn.com.

    Holy canoli, woman–where did you find that literary voice??? Your prose is GORGEOUS. I wish I could jump in the family truckster right now and go buy my copy. Unfortunately I have to wait for the rest of the world to wake up. I hope you continue, because that’s a voice worth listening to. You could very well be another Mary Carr or Gillian Flynn. I think you found your calling! I’m going to start singing your praises to everyone I know who reads, for whatever that’s worth. Keep writing! It doesn’t have to be autobiographical in nature, just write. Who was it you said you were battling in an earlier post, your agent or your editor? Whoever it was, TRUST THAT PERSON.

    And now I’m off to bake bread since I can’t sleep.

  3. Dawn Says:

    Another huge compliment. I struggled with trusting my literary voice. It was quite a process for me, I must say. You can’t even know how much your words about my writing have validated years of hard work. Thank you. Please, when you have finished the book, let me know what you think. I would welcome you thoughts.

    Fresh bread sounds amazing!

  4. Dawn Says:

    Hi Lisa,

    Thank you. I love hearing that you have followed my journey on this blog, and appreciate that you recognize some of the harsher feedback that I have taken as a result. The worst ones I don’t post. I won’t promote them.

    For the most part though, I receive wonderful messages from people who have found this site for a reason that makes a difference in their lives. I think that I connect with people who have had struggles or are still struggling. Although, I know my story was exceptionally violent, most people face challenges in their lives as well and can relate. I do try to remember all the people who were involved and empathize with them. It’s in my personality. Hopefully, through counseling I have developed strong boundaries and support so to not let the “bozos” tear me down. :)
    Your support means so much, and word of mouth is how an important story stays alive. Thank you…again..for considering my story, important.

  5. Priscilla Says:

    Just finished your book last nite–I literally could not put it down–got it wed. finished thurs.–stopped reading only to go to work!!
    Dawn, you are simply amazing. To survive that mess is incredible. At no point while reading your book did I for a SECOND think that ANY of it was your fault. Don’t ever, ever post any negative comments about your story–you must realize that people who do that to you are disturbed and are not worth giving internet space to in ANY way. You were basically on your own your whole life, and you carried on throughout with strength & dignity. Amazing. You have the most beautiful & pure spirit–I only wish that in my life, I can be HALF the woman you are.
    I wish you and your daughter the best–hope your book makes a TON of money so you can do exactly as you please for the rest of your life. You deserve every bit of goodness and happiness that the world has to offer.

  6. Dawn Says:

    Hi Priscilla,

    Thank you so much. I appreciate you taking the time to comment so positively and am touched. I do have a good life. My biggest challenge is getting my non-profit on its feet to help as many other teens as we can. It takes a village and with the simple act of writing something inspiring to me on this site, you contributed.

    Thank you again,

  7. Patrick Green Says:

    I want to thank you for posting this and saying the kind things you say about YASO. I am humbled considering the work that you do. Though I know each and every person who shares and is a part of our circle, I do not know who writes what letter anonymously. I do know every word and every heart matters and I love them.

    Thank you, again.

  8. Lisa Says:

    Hello Dawn,

    I baked bread, took a nap and called the bookstores when I woke up to get my copy of “The Road Through Wonderland.” Thence followed a brief period of temper-tantrum and naughty language when I was told that they ‘don’t keep it in stock, but would be more than happy to special order…’ Yeah, I’m an instant-gratification kinda gal. I sucked it up and placed my order online. It finally came in the mail–the day I went back to work. Which might explain why it’s taken me so long to comment…
    ANYWAY, I am happy to report that you kept me up reading until 4:00 Tuesday morning (it was an amusing day at the office, believe me). Despite being a little cranky and sleep-deprived, I couldn’t wait to get home and finish the book, which I did last Tuesday evening before falling into a coma.

    Seriously, it was money well-spent. A week after finishing it, I still can’t get your story out of my head, not just because of the subject matter but because of the narrative. You paint a picture with your words, whether you’re describing the cross-country drive and creepy hitchhikers, sunny, fragrant California, whory Hollywood as seen through the eyes of a young girl or, inevitably, the terrible things you’ve had to survive. I caught myself flinching more than a few times. I caught myself wishing I could smell those jacaranda blossoms, too (and my mental picture was so clear, I almost could smell them). Your recall is amazing. If I had one criticism it would be that I felt the ending was a little abrupt. I’m not certain of that; I need to read it again when I’m not hanging on every word, rushing to get to the next page, sleep-deprived and bitchy.

    This is a book I am happy to own, and one I will re-read and recommend. Thank you for not only sharing your story, but for keeping me enthralled into the wee hours (not many authors can do this; if a book “sucks” I’ll just chuck it across the room and take something to help me sleep). Bravissima, darling!


    P.S. – On a side note, my apologies to Mary Karr (author of “The Liars’ Club” and “Cherry”), whose name I misspelled in my first post.

  9. jess Says:

    I really want to let you know that I was very touched by your story & found it to be a real eye opener. Honestly at first I envied your connection to John but after reading I honestly started hating him and truly felt in your shoes the writing is that good. There are so many women that idealize men for what that perceive as power, or talent and they dont realize that their fantasy is quite different than the reality. I was thinking the entire time I read why did she stay..but really I do understand why we often hold desperately to the good times and block out whats it has really become. Im glad that poor 15 year old girl is gone and this strong women has taken over for her. We are proud of you Dawn..you have truly blossomed in to a genuinly wonderful human being:)

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