Episode 11

My Life As a Prayer with Elizabeth Cunningham | S4 Ep11

Published on: 13th December, 2023

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Our Story

Elizabeth Cunningham reads to us from her new memoir, My Life as a Prayer. For Elizabeth, "A prayer is one who prays." This excerpt brings us to the start of her journey as a writer because, for this author, writing and prayer are always interwoven.

Our Guest

Elizabeth Cunningham is a novelist, poet, musician, and counselor based in New York’s Hudson Valley.  She’ll be reading to us from her multifaith memoir, My Life as a Prayer. She is the author and illustrator of The Book of Madge, a graphic novel, and the source of her best known work, the four books in The Maeve Chronicles. Her earlier novels include The Wild Mother, The Return of the Goddess, and How to Spin Gold, all of which have been recently reprinted by Monkfish Book Publishing. 

Our Conversation

  • This excerpt from My Life as a Prayer is a request for help, and a prayer of gratitude
  • Elizabeth chose to write through the lens of prayer because it enabled her to write a memoir without writing about certain things at the core of her life - love affairs, children, her marriage
  • Scripture as sacred storytelling
  • The pressure from Elizabeth’s father to be a social worker, not to be a writer; this tension is alive for many writers who fear they should be more devoted to activism
  • Elizabeth’s “best imaginary friend forever” BIFF, Maeve, the unrepentant Celtic Magdalene, heroine of The Passion of Mary Magdalene and three other books
  • The need for an incarnate goddess, and a desire for a relationship with Jesus
  • The invitation to all people be in a uniquely passionate love affair with “God” (or whatever you call the great spirit) 
  • Prayer and the troublesome idea that “only god can help” when we think of suffering mothers and children in Gaza
  • Fite fuaite, the Irish phrase for interwoven; the idea that something can be woven, then torn, then mended, as the Hebrew word tikkun
  • “A way out of no way, way will open”

Our Music

Music at the start of the show is by Beth Sweeney and Billy Hardy: billyandbeth.com

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About the Podcast

KnotWork Storytelling
Myths Retold, from Ireland and Beyond
In each KnotWork Storytelling episode, we'll explore a different story from mythology, folklore, or history, particularly from Ireland and the Celtic World. Then, my guest and I dive deep into why these ideas and characters still resonate today.

Your host is Marisa Goudy, author of The Sovereignty Knot: A Woman’s Way to Freedom, Power, Love, and Magic. She is a Myth Worker, a Story Healer, a Writing Coach, and a has an MA in Irish literature from University College Dublin.

Join us as we wander through these ancient storylines as we set out on a quest to learn from the past, better understand the present, and craft a sustainable future.

Every episode reminds us that age-old stories are medicine for this modern moment.

About your host

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Marisa Goudy

Marisa Goudy is a story healer, a writing coach, and a word witch. Her book, The Sovereignty Knot: A Woman’s Way to Freedom, Power, Love, and Magic, was released in 2020.
Marisa nurtures writers and storytellers in her long-running online writing community, the Sovereign Writers’ Knot.
On this show, Marisa combines her passion for story with her love of Irish literature, culture, and folklore and her fascination with the Celtic world. She has a particular love of stories of heroines, goddess, and women whose tales were forgotten by history.