If you're not reading Heather's blog, Shirt of Flame, then tolle et lege nunc.
Hi there folks--please know how honored I am that you read Parched, and how gratified I am that you liked it (I think)...For me, the story of a drunk who gets sober is a death and resurrection story, and death and resurrection is the deepest, most interesting, most ever-astonishing story possible.I've been reflecting lately upon the trajectory of the story of Christ in the Gospels: a very long lead-in to the Passion, then the Passion, then the fairly short "description" of the patchy, ephemeral, now-you-see-it, now-you-don't Resurrection. The Resurrection is inherent in the way the story is told. No victimhood, no whining, no anger, no blaming, no reproach, no glamorization of evil, no melodrama made out of (though no diminishing of either) Christ's own suffering. And I think that same trajectory, and that same approach, is what makes for a good memoir. If ever there was hero, it is Christ, but even for Christ, the focus was on the Father, and the Father's glory, not on him.I agonized long and hard over the family member aspect of the book. One brother asked to be taken out completely, and when I talked to the lawyer from the publishing house (who goes over the memoir with a fine-toothed comb) I was shocked when he at one point asked: "Is there any chance that your mother would sue you?" I said, "WHY?" And the passage he quoted was the (obviously exaggerated for comic effect) one where I described my friend coming over for supper and my mother serving everybody a teaspoon of mashed potatoes and three peas! Which could apparently "damage her reputation in the community."I replied, "Truth is an absolute defense to a slander claim and I have seven brothers and sisters who would take the stand and say it was more like TWO peas"...But seriously, my mother loved the book, or said she did. I had a reading in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, next to the town where I grew up, and the whole family, or those who lived in the area, came. After all, I dedicated the book to my parents, profusely thanked them, gave my mother credit for saving my life, and took full responsibility for my actions during and after drinking. But it's true that different family members have a very different view of, and very different experiences of and interpretations of the same event. So I have been very careful in writing about my family, and in fact have hardly done so at all, since...Here’s to more good reading, and true writing,Heather