As my biography of Doris Duke continues to simmer in the editing vats at Farrar, Straus, I must for my salvation begin to write—again.
For words really to matter, they must illuminate a larger reality than the inevitably small perimeters of our daily lives.
This essay, by Steve Almond, from the March 25th edition of The New York Times, comes like a bombshell, dispelling not only my notions about why people take the writing workshops I teach, but why I often find teaching them frustrating.
A while back, or perhaps it was more than a few years ago, we all became aware of the epidemic of violence against women in this country, and memoirs began to be written as the survivors felt empowered to describe what they had gone though, battling through shame and the fear of family repercussions. We all have our lists of these titles, some of them bitingly effective, others less so, and perhaps I was not alone in imagining that writing about the problem would make the problem go away, or at least diminish it.