Every year around this time when I (Cary) was writing the Since You Asked advice column for Salon.com I would start getting letters from people about their families. At the same time, after taking Pat Schneider’s Amherst Writers and Artists workshop in Berkeley California I had begun leading writing workshops and finding that around this time of year we start writing about our families and remembering things that happened, and fighting with our families and reliving old wounds and conflicts.
It’s never a bad time to write about your family! But it’s always difficult, distressing and surprising. Danelle and I wrote this chapter in the book — well, Danelle wrote it, actually, but I mean, we included it in the book because these things can stop us from finishing:
- hidden or buried feelings about family
- worries what is OK to say and not say,
- worries about whom we must protect and how,
- worries about who may be hurt,
- difficulty handling the surprising memories that surface as we begin writing.
All thee things make writing about the family rewarding but fraught with peril. You can read all about it in the book. Which, incidentally, since we’re coming up on the holidays: