In 2014, I was back from an extended blogging hiatus and trying to find my writing legs. It was when I first realized I needed to make the shift from Fiction to Nonfiction. Prior to that time, my Fiction was a jumble of the anxieties I was trying to sort without accepting or owning. In fact, I wrote a 192 page cycle of short stories as my MFA thesis that was based mostly on my family’s nonfictional experience with the Lebanese-American diaspora on both continents. It is a series of
I have a friend who lives in a fearful situation. We have had several amazing conversations about how much she does not want to admit that her situation has to change, and that she has to change it. She has taken steps forward and backward, knowing that neither place is where she wants to be. Now she finds herself sapped and exhausted, her creative well dry. Fight or flight, the human fear response, means, when threatened, you defend either by standing up in defiance or running away to stay safe.
I wrote The Letter No One Wrote My Mother many months before publishing it here. It was a private piece, a letter specific to the situation of a friend. I wrote it and I shared it with her, then I sat on it, afraid of how big it felt. I knew it was a piece that could help others, but to speak up was forbidden since childhood. The irony was not lost on me: that I was able to plead authentically with a friend that she change her situation, but not
The New Year’s resolution has long been a source of personal failure. As a child, I would handcraft a list of behavioral changes and specific goals I intended to accomplish the following year. I imagined that midnight on December 31st was as magical as Santa. I would wake on New Year’s Day refreshed and improved, capable of success in every imaginable way. I was wrong. Every year I was wrong until I began to despise the changing of the calendar. I was not going to write X number or words
Some stories are harder to write than others. Fiction offers a buffer, a safe distance from reality, even when the story lines are harsh or graphic. Life is visceral. I prefer my pretty fictions. Some stories are harder to hear than others, even though we are human in our curiosity. In our inability to look away. I have a true story. It is my creation. Not my birth, but the components of my life that make me who I am. I have wanted to tell it for years. I wanted