“Writing is cathartic for me,” said Hilary Lowell. “It gives me great joy to be able express myself -- my feelings about people important in my life, my injury. My poetry gives me a voice.”
A well-educated and published author, Hilary suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2006 at the age of 41 when she hit her head on an cast iron radiator during an epileptic seizure. Two months later, she suffered a stroke and was in a coma for two weeks before awakening.
“I had no memory of anything and the only word I could say at first was ‘world,’” Hilary noted. Slowly she recovered her speech, but with a slight twist.
“Sometimes I speak with an accent!” she said with a laugh. “It can be an Irish accent, which I grew up with, and sometimes it’s an African accent like my care-givers. It’s something I can’t seem to control - I just do it.”
After having earned a bachelor’s degree in literature and writing from what is now St. Catherine’s University in St. Paul, Hilary earned a master of arts degree in 1997 in arts administration from St. Mary’s University in Minneapolis. Hilary earned a master’s in liberal atudies in 2001 from Hamline University in St. Paul. She worked in art galleries and further sharpened her skills by attending arts camps and poetry writing conferences. Her poetry and creative non-fiction works, which often have themes of nature, biology, genealogy, mother-daughter relationships, family and history, have been published in literary magazines and school publications. Hilary was an associate professor at several different colleges.
But after her brain injury and stroke, Hilary wasn’t sure she’d be able to pull up her past and be a writer again. “At first, I couldn’t - then I could! I am thrilled to have regained my ability to write -- and I have my family and work colleagues to thank for the renewal in my writing.
“It’s like honing a stone in jewelry-making,” Hilary added. “I have family members going back many, many generations who were jewelers in Neuchatel, Switzerland, and here in the U.S. They have taken stones and cut and polished them into beautiful gems. I feel like that’s what I have done - dug deep inside to bring out and polished my writing ability again.”
Channeling her artistic genes, Hilary has also enjoyed working on Rise’s Art for All project of mosaic hot air balloons which now hang in Rise’s administrative offices in Spring Lake Park.
Hilary has worked as a data entry clerk with Rise’s Data Ability program in Crystal for five years. She lives in a MDM Rubicon group home, but plans to move to an apartment with assisted living services sometime this year. Hilary and her “really wonderful” boyfriend Eric, who is also a writer, enjoy checking out restaurants throughout the Twin Cities. A yogi since 1980, she also likes to work out.
Hilary is currently working on expanding a novella that she has written, Where All Roads End - Olivia’s Journey, into a novel about how a couple from the North experiences U.S. civil rights issues in the North and South.