Boulder Author SUE FREDERICK Discusses Her Love of Boulder and Her Spiritual Memoir, Water Oak: The Happiness of Longing.

Turning 40, Sue Frederick thought she had lost everything. Widowed, childless, and heartbroken, her escalating sense of failure launched her on a spiritual journey to find what mattered, forge her own unique story, and share her message through her memoir, Water Oak: The Happiness of Longing.

Q: Most of your story takes place in Boulder. You describe working at a publishing company in downtown Boulder; hiking in the foothills around town and visiting an ashram just outside of Boulder. Is this a typical Boulder lifestyle?

A: Many people come to Boulder longing for a stimulating career, a healthy outdoor lifestyle, or seeking spiritual nourishment. Boulder offers all of those things. I love my career; I’ve spent 40+ years hiking Boulder foothills and surrounding peaks, and have been deeply nourished by the array of amazing spiritual communities. The Boulder lifestyle nourishes us on every level.

Q: You describe your childhood in the deep South which is very different from the life you describe in Boulder. Were you searching for something when you came to Boulder? Are most people searching for something when they come to Boulder today?

A: I came here on a rock climbing trip in 1977. I was seeking adventure and an outdoor lifestyle, but along the way, I found so much more. Boulder has a way of pulling us in with its beauty and then turning us upside down until we’ve opened up and transformed in unexpected ways. I’m grateful for every minute I’ve spent in this sacred place; it has pushed me to grow beyond what I ever imagined.

Q: Why did you choose to write such a deeply personal and revealing memoir about such a painful time in your life? Why share that?

A: I wanted to encourage anyone facing heartbreak that they will move forward no matter how impossible it seems today. We’re all the same really; each of us struggling to find our way. The more we share our authentic stories, the more we help each other heal and thrive.