AS A MEMOIR COACH and writing teacher, I am accustomed to a great deal of pushback from writers about re-entering troubled times. “Why should I go back there?” someone will ask, particularly after a difficult edit. It begs the question of whether writing through sadness makes things better or worse.
Thinking about this, I went looking for someone smarter than I am, and found this interview in Publishers Weekly with the great Anne Roiphe, in which, during a discussion of the writing she did after her husband died, she said, “The writing did not make me sad. I was sad to start with. The writing made me feel strong and the writing told me what I was thinking and it is always a good to know what is happening in the dark recesses of one’s mind.”
I don’t know about you, but I found that illuminating.