Public reading from Asra’s first novel at the Toadstool Bookstore

Asra Zahn reading and discussing her novel-in-progress, Other Wise, Oct 17th at 2pm, Toadstool Bookstore, Peterborough NH

IMG_5557Many people have said to me in recent weeks, “I didn’t know you were a writer”

Well, neither did I!I have dozens and dozens of blank books filled to the brim with poetry and journal entries from over the years, but I never thought I would write a novel. As I mentioned in a recent post Other Wise came from a source greater than me. I am  nervous to speak at the Toadstool, but I know that artists must have courage to bring to light what many people are struggling with in their souls and address issues that are relevant to the times we live in.


Other Wise touches on topics I discuss with people almost on a daily basis. How can we live in a way that is aligned with our conscience? How can we accept challenges as gifts to learn from, rather than as burdens? How can we re-write the scripts that keep us helpless and ashamed of who we are? This book tells the story of a young woman who turns her pain and confusion into a gesture of honesty and strength, like a flamenco dancer!

In most of my publicity raising funds to complete Other Wise, I have said it is a book about de-stigmatizing extreme states often diagnosed as mental illnesses. Almost everyone goes through a psychological crisis at some point in their life. How they are handled can greatly effect the outcome. Mental and emotional hardships can lead to awakening, with the proper support.

In a materialistic society, with a materialistic health care system, there is a need for greater understanding that emotions and thoughts are spiritual in nature. The will can be strengthened align the psyche with a healthy physical body and the healing power of nature.

The Gift

The room for improvement in our mental health care system effects everyone, not just people diagnosed with mental illnesses. We can be the change we want to see by reclaiming the sacred in the psychology in our daily lives.

Thus Other Wise is universal. It touches on the archetypal human journey of overcoming black and white beliefs about whether our system is good or bad, whether we are wrong or right, crazy or sane. There are no easy answers about how to heal the planet, how to fix our system, how to get out of the system, or how to stay sane. The psyche is not merely a fragile bridge between the mind and the body. The psyche is vast. It can penetrate all the spaces in between. Being right or sane is not so important when we expand into the unknown enough to find ourselves in others and others in ourselves. Hence the title “Other Wise.”

There are people out there who know how to support others in their awakening. I have been lucky to know some of them. Please support the holistic movement in mental health care and come to the Toadstool on Oct 17th to support me at my first public literary event. Enjoy the free refreshments, hear a passage of the first draft of Other Wise, and join the discussion if you wish!

I hope you will check out my book project and consider supporting my crowdfunding campaign towards editing and publishing the book! Every little contribution helps!


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