Playing in the Sand—Or how I Became an Author in one Therapy Session

Guest post
by Stefan Bolz

It all began when my colleague told me about her friend who had computer problems. I have been writing for a while, mostly poetry, a few screenplays and the beginnings of a novel when I was seventeen.

But I never considered myself a writer and I never—never—could have dreamed up what that incidental encounter had in store for me. It all started with a faulty wireless connection and a new printer.

I seem to have good computer karma and my colleague at work thought I could make some extra money by setting up her friend’s, computer with her printer at her home. When I got to her house, she asked me very nonchalantly about the date and time of my birth. As I found out, she is an excellent Astrologer. I gave it to her and, for the next hour or so, she told me all about where my sun is and which house I was born in and the whole problem with Gemini.

I didn’t retain much of what she told me, to be honest (sorry, Joyce, you know I love you). Except for two things. “You need to go back to therapy,” she said. “And for God’s sake Stefan, STOP EDITING YOURSELF!” To her defense, I had been thinking about going back to my therapist for a couple of weeks now.

Fast forward four days and I sit in my therapist’s practice. She and I usually do either a combination of energy work and visual journeys, or “sand box work.” That day we decided to play in the sand box. Here is how this works: My therapist has a shelf in her practice on which you can find anything you need to play in the sand: small figurines, action figures, or items like little palm trees, dragons, motorcycles, cowboys, dogs, helicopters, stones, pieces of wood, trains, etc. I would randomly and without much thought, pick out some of the items and place them into the sand box.

So, that day, one by one I took my items from the shelf and placed them into the box. Once I was done, we looked at it together and, as always, Julie asked me what I saw. It usually makes sense as to which of the figurines I am, what’s going on in the box and therefore in my life at that moment, and so on. Not this time. I had no clue what I was looking at. There was a rooster, red and orange colored; there was a wolf, a large horse, a Pegasus, a frog, a Dragon and three feathers on the left side kind of stuck into the sand. That was all. I told Julie that I had no idea what it meant, what it was or what to make of it. All I said was that it sure looks like it would make a nice little fable: The rooster sets out on a journey. On his way, he picks up friends like the wolf and the horse. Then they encounter a Pegasus and a dragon. There is a frog in there somewhere. And in the end they find the three feathers.

I left Julie, not disappointed but feeling kind of neutral with the sense that nothing really had happened in there. I forgot all about it until, one morning, I thought I’d better write it down. It was more out of habit, as I usually write down what happens during the sessions. So I sat down and began: “Once upon a time, a young rooster lived on a farm on the eastern shore…”

As of the writing of this blog post, The Three Feathers has been self published in paperback and for the kindle. I have written and published a companion, The Dawning of the True Self. There are, at minimum, two sequels and one prequel in the works right now. The world that has opened up for me, both in the story and in my life, I could not have dreamed up in my wildest fantasies. Since then, I have been doing author days, readings, signings at book stores and schools (this includes signing napkins, baseball caps, lunch boxes and many a forearm), book and library fairs and interviews; not to mention the countless interactions with fans young and old. My advice is this: First, if your friend asks you to help a friend, do it! You might be able to fulfill your lifelong dream just because of it. And, secondly, for God’s sake, stop editing yourself!


During day time, Stefan is a Real Estate Broker, fulfilling people’s often lifelong dream of owning their own home. But at night and during the wee hours of the day, when the sun has just arrived on the horizon, he takes off his jacket and becomes a novelist and poet – a word savant, as his girlfriend calls him. Learn more about Stefan from his Amazon author page and his website.

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15 thoughts on “Playing in the Sand—Or how I Became an Author in one Therapy Session”

  1. Thanks Stefan, very nice post. Life is a journey and sometimes the stops along the way help us more than we realize (at the time) to get us to where we ultimately need to be. 🙂

    1. Thanks! The really funny and interesting thing is that the actual book is about a journey also. Completely conceived from the subconscious. There is just no way I could have written it with what I was thinking consciously.

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