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2005-03-16 - 10:41 a.m.

A Writing Dilemma

I've been having an on-going dialogue with myself (and with a brother-in-law, who is also a writer) about how to include some things in my memoirs that involve personal issues of my children.

Delayed grief is a big problem with adolescents...and I don't know how to deal with writing several chapters of my book without involving the personal lives of others - in print - for all the world to see.

Dave writes back: "I think you need to decide if you want to look at this whole manuscript as a writer or a journal. If you go as a writer, and you are probably aware of this, you will have to set your emotions aside and dig even more deeply into the painful areas...cause that's where the truth lies and where the power of your story is held. You showed great courage throughout the years. Both of your children struggled and you struggled, but survived and are making it. There is another story....And quite honestly, these are the events writers go after."

I just talked to one of my daughters...and she's not only O.K. with me writing about this chapter of our lives, but is willing to offer some insights I hadn't even thought to include. Her background, personal knowledge and experience make her the excellent therapist that she is...her perspective will be invaluable. And including these chapters will make the book much more valuable to those experiencing loss if they have adolescents or post-adolescents in their family.

I'm feeling like I can move on - unreservedly.

Thanks, Laurie.

And for the critic, who was appalled at the idea I might include recipes in my book,because it would be disrespectful to my late husband and son: I wrote a newsletter for my women's clothing store every month for years, and it always included a recipe. To this day, I hear from people, "Guess what, Joan. Went to a cocktail party Saturday night, and when I asked the hostess where she'd found the recipe for the hot crab canape, and if she'd share it, she said, 'From the Tarika newsletter in 1978!'"

So, you see, people who know me would expect a recipe or two...or more, if they fit into the story. And they do!

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