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Writer Waking Up - A Publication Blog

On ambivalence, and its gifts...

In today's post, I present part two of a three-part Q&A series, in which I've asked long-time writing friends for the questions that came to mind when they read A Piece of Sky, A Grain of Rice: A Memoir in Four Meditations. The questions below came from novelist Marian Szczepanski, author of Playing Saint Barbara, and a creative writing teacher at Writespace in Houston and the Writers' League of Texas in Austin.

MS: Have you ever felt conflicted or ambivalent about chronicling events such as emotionally charged or challenging family situations that involve other people, particularly those who are still alive and may read your book?

CH: This is an interesting question because I've been asked many times how family members, etc., feel about the book, but no one has asked me about my own emotional response to writing about real as opposed to imagined people.
When I first realized that I was going to have to write a memoir, I felt sick. By "have to," I mean that every time I sat down to write fiction I found myself writing pages and pages of introspective self-examination embedded in recollected stories about the people and events in my life that confounded me. By "sick," I mean actually nauseated and definitely terrified. But, given the first condition--nothing coming through the writing pipeline but my own intense need to make sense, or try to, of my life to that point, the second condition--discomfort and doubt with the project ahead of me--was simply something I had to wade through day by day at the writing desk. I mean, are there any writers who don't feel that way, at least sometimes, at the start of a writing project, fiction or nonfiction? Read More 
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