Monday, June 4, 2018



In January of 2014, the village’s beloved herbalist fell dramatically ill.  The shock of this event brings the community of Joshua Tree together, each member using their own form of wit, practical magic and spiritual wisdom, in a desperate effort and race against time to save the life of their beloved Jenny Q. 

A close-knit desert community takes center stage in this unique book.  A woven compilation of letters, prose and poems tell the story of the power of love to overcome adversity, death, coma and amputation.

While the words of her community tell the story from an outside perspective, Jenny Q’s own insightful writings provide a fascinating window into a range of rare experiences- from the worlds encountered inside a coma, to being ravaged by sepsis, the absolute alteration of losing one’s legs, the subtle venom of PTSD, and the nightmare of opiate withdrawal.

Though Held Together ruthlessly explores dark and fearful places, it is also a celebration of the human will and the power of love.

Book Details:

Title: Held Together

Author: Jenny Q

Genre: Narrative nonfiction

Publish date: June 1, 2018

Page count: 500


Things you need in order to write:
Quiet. I write best when I am alone and not too tired.
Things that hamper your writing:
Lots of interruptions. I used to believe in multi-tasking. Single-focus is my new, favorite way.

Things you love about where you live:
My community. In my opinion, there has never been a more supportive and creative one. And the vast sky and dazzling, desert mountains.
Things that make you want to move:
The water supply. I love growing things and never shake the bit of guilt for having herb gardens and fruit trees.

Favorite smell:
Depending on the day or the season- vetiver, frankincense, jasmine, ylang ylang… I could go on and on. I do own an aromatherapy bar.
Something that makes you hold your nose:
Chlorine bleach and synthetic perfume.

Something you’re really good at:
Throwing a party, sharing my feelings, loving those around me, being the first on the dance floor.
Something you’re really bad at:
Creating boundaries, hiding my emotions, denying myself of good food.

Things you’d walk a mile for:
A night of good music, a home-cooked Arabic meal, Joshua Tree Music Festival.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room:
People who are racist, homophobic, misogynist, judgmental, and selfish.

People you’d like to invite to dinner:
Amy Goodman, Noam Chompsky, David Hoffman, most of my community.
People you’d cancel dinner on:
Most everyone in the White House.

Favorite things to do:
Family night with my daughter and wife (which usually involves fiber arts while listening to a good audiobook), being on stage with cello in hand, dancing, making herbal formulas for people.
Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing:
Hurting someone.

Things that make you happy:
Delicious, organic food and sharing it with loved ones, a good movie with a bowl of over-spiced popcorn, a sunrise hike.
Things that drive you crazy:
Environmental issues and politics, especially today’s.

Best thing you’ve ever done:
Becoming a mother to Yazzy and a wife to Myshkin.
Biggest mistake:
Hurting an ex-partner by running away from her in my young adulthood and not being able to save my bestie from drinking herself to death.

Words that describe you:

Passionate, exuberant, wistful, optimistic, unrealistic, forgetful, emotional.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t:
Unrealistic, forgetful, emotional.




my goddess.. it seems so far away from my ordeal..  
so often, i am incredulous that this even happened.. 

did this happen to me?

where are my legs?
i lost my legs??!

damn, i never believed i was artistic or creative,  but look what i conjured up for my body! who but an artist could have dreamed this body up? 

sometimes, when i’m not tired, when i am not feeling insecure, 
when i am not in pain..
i look at my body and revel in the beauty of the unimaginable.. 

i actually enjoy the legs, the quilted skin grafts— and yes— the colostomy bag. 
i actually revel in this body..

in this interesting new body

alternate words for interesting..


Jenny Q was born in Southern California to Palestinian immigrants. Her love of herbs
began in her teens while on the road following the Grateful Dead. After exploring many heart
homes, she set her roots in Joshua Tree, California, where she opened Grateful Desert, the
local apothecary.

Joyously sharing her life with her tight-knit desert community, Jenny lives with her
beloveds~ Yazzy, her daughter and Myshkin, her wife.

Connect with Jenny:
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook

Buy the book:

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