At sixteen, Lucy Daniels dropped out of high school and spent five years in psychiatric hospitals in treatment for severe anorexia nervosa. In 1956, less than a year after her release, a novel she had written in the hospital, Caleb, My Son, was published by Lippincott and became a best seller. The story of a father-son conflict associated with the Brown decision to end segregation, the novel appeared in several countries and won Daniels a Guggenheim Fellowship in literature.
By 1961 when her second novel, High on a Hill, was published, Daniels had married and given birth to two of her four children. Over the next several years, she found writing fiction more and more difficult, and felt ashamed of her lack of education. In 1968, she entered college and began studying psychology at the University of North Carolina. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa four years later, and then pursued clinical training in psychology, which led to a doctorate in 1977.
While her education enabled Daniels to help others, it was psychoanalysis that freed her from both chronic anorexia and a debilitating writer’s block. In her words, analysis “enabled me to make the journey from the desert of creative paralysis to creative freedom.”
Now a prolific writer, Lucy Daniels works both in her private practice and her foundation to help other creative individuals overcome emotional conflicts, often through an analysis of their dreams.
In 2002, Daniels published her memoir, With a Woman’s Voice: A Writer’s Struggle for Emotional Freedom. And in 2005, she simultaneously published a primer, Dreaming Your Way to Creative Freedom, which chronicles her 30-year struggle against writer’s block and offers a road map for others to use on their personal journeys and another novel, The Eyes of the Father, a compelling story of people controlled by the past. Walking with Moonshine, a collection of stories drawn from her life experience, was published in 2013.
Daniels’ latest book, Maritime Magistery, is a collection of linked stories set on the North Carolina coast which shows how human craziness and the weather at the beach are similar.