Writing beautifully about painful things isn’t easy. Just ask Lorraine Ash, whose memoir Life Touches Life: A Mother’s Story of Stillbirth and Healing examines an experience of almost unimaginable pain: after a picture-perfect pregnancy, Lorraine learns that her daughter Victoria has contracted an infection and died. Life Touches Life walks readers through her experience–and does it in engaging, accessible, and honest terms.
Full disclosure here: I first heard about Lorraine’s story from Maureen Michelson, publisher at NewSage Press. “We’re going to be doing a book called Life Touches Life,” she said. “It’s going to be a tough book, so we’ll need to do everything we can to make it beautiful without distorting or trivializing the topic. I’m editing with the needs of a grieving audience in mind–keeping chapters short, stuff like that. The design’s going to need to do the same thing–we’ll need to have larger type, more white space–we just really have to make this book as easy to read as possible.”
So it was as a designer that I first confronted the question that I now face as a writer: How do you write honestly about things that most of us would prefer not to think about–and do it in terms that pull your audience into your experience, carry them along through the hard times, and somehow keep your story from becoming overwhelmingly painful? Journalist, writing teacher, and author Lorraine Ash manages to do exactly that. Even better, she knows how she did it–and she’s talking.
(Photo by Bob Karp, www.bobkarpphotos.com)
We’ll be starting the conversation Wednesday night; and Lorraine will be in and out to answer questions on Thursday. In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about Lorraine, you can do it here, at her website.