Thursday, October 21, 2010


Hello blank page, I'm back. (Is the universe listening?)

Nothing like reviving one's blog with one of those words that's so long you must pull it apart syllable by syllable to figure out it's meaning, right? Re-vi-vi-fi-ca-tion. Welcome to my world, for that's what a writer does to breathe new life into her work: pulls apart words and sentences and paragraphs and scenes, constantly questioning their components for meaningful expression and relevant inclusion.

As my temporarily abandoned readers already know, I have used this blog to explore the way writing helps us address issues of healing. Life questions that got me journaling instigated that journey for me some eighteen years ago; my first husband's suicide spurred it on.

The 13th anniversary of Ron's suicide was yesterday. Because Dave and I moved to Doylestown last December, this is the first anniversary of Ron's death I did not spend on the farm where he killed himself after a day-long police standoff. I thought I'd commemorate the anniversary by powering up this blog again.

Truth be told, I've missed writing about my life. A memoirist uses perspective like a sieve: you drop in the events of your life, shake them around, and allow the drab to fall through so that you might more closely examine the bits that glitter with meaning. I'll show you what I mean by applying that same process to my blog.

Sifting back through my last several posts, I saw some sparkle of meaning beyond that which I purposefully applied to the page.

Sunday, March 22: Blessed detachment
Monday, March 30: Scene and Sequel
These two posts exemplify the yin and yang of my writer's life. Networking/holing up, crafting/learning, reflecting/living, dreaming/enacting, producing/marketing, responsibility to others/responsibility to self: these sets of dueling needs are a fertile source of conflict in the life of the writer who's in it for the whole wild ride. Just when I've figured out how to tame my schedule to encourage that elusive notion of consistency, one of these duels heats up to wreak havoc. Turns out we are all characters in an unpredictable story. Hallelujah!

Saturday, June 6: While I was underground
Writer or not, if you plan to live fully, you must play the game in a ready stance—you know, like in tennis: knees bent, weight over the balls of the feet, racket at the ready, eyes scanning the horizon for opportunity and peril, weight shifting back and forth to propel you in the direction of the next shot. You gotta try. But watch: it's often when you're fully committed to your forehand that you'll feel the ball zing past your backhand side. This feels unfair—I was ready!—but such reversals are a necessary part of a great story.

Saturday, September 19: What he left behind
Our legacies will define us for future generations. Ron left a legacy of shock and horror. If I choose to write it, my memoir can leave a legacy of perspective and hope. The written word trumps the echo of trauma, paper over rock. For me this post also exemplifies the energy required to boost myself beyond the forces that could have kept me in orbit around a traumatic event. In terms of personal growth, that is rocket science.

Monday, September 28: The illusion of control
Healing is not "getting a grip": it's the opposite. Healing, for me, has been reassembling that flexible ready stance I mentioned above, body part by body part, and regaining the heart to face whatever comes at me next.

Tragedy need not define my life. My role as dance critic defined my relationship with a larger community even as the foundation of Ron's life crumbled beneath him—on the very day of the suicide standoff, for example, my editor at The Morning Call was awaiting a story I was writing on choreographer David Parsons in conjunction with his upcoming performance at Lehigh University.

Saturday, July 10: My lemon crosses America
The blog posts and essays and book-length material that comprise my memoir work, with its theme of how to carry on in the face of tragedy, is as serious as it gets—yet to become whole again one must honor one's whimsical side. Her move across the country was very stressful for my sister, but documenting the lemon's journey was a running gag that afforded much in the way of healing laughter. I can even find meaning in the choice of a lemon to exemplify my sister's journey: its sour taste doesn't mean it isn't good for you.

Forehand or backhand, ready or not, meaning whizzes past us every day. Writing about my life allows me to capture it on the page so I can mine the little stories for the big over-arching story. Finding the structure in that bigger story is in itself healing; what once seemed random is now architecture.

Please check back often, as I hope to update this blog three times per week. In my next post I'll explore why I temporarily stopped writing about my life.


Lisa R. Tomarelli said...

Just to read your writing helps me fine-tune mine. Thank you for sharing; thank you for the insights; thank you for starting up again. I share the journey with you as I continue with tentative steps forward on my memoir. I need to keep blinders on to block the temptation to write fiction instead. ;)

Glynis said...

Welcome back to your blog. I have read through several of your posts. Thank you for sharing and I look forward to reading more.

Author Glynis Smy

Kathryn Craft said...

Hi Lisa, thanks for stopping by with a word of encouragement. Maybe together we can nail these memoirs! I'm at about page 60.

Kathryn Craft said...

Glynis: Thanks for stopping by! Here's proof I stopped by your blog, too: you might be interested to know that Ron, my first husband, was also a Halloween baby.

Glynis said...

:) Thanks for visiting.

Bernadette said...

So glad you have this blog. Thanks for its revival. I think suffering expressed through writing heals authors as well as readers. It's the most powerful way to resonate with someone--to honestly talk about your journey. It gives me hope--the real kind.

Kathryn Craft said...

Hey Bernadette,
I'm so glad you found your way to this post! To share hope with another is a powerful thing. Please stop back from time to time, and thanks for commenting.