Friday, August 24, 2007

Such a powerful book!

I got to meet Erin in L.A., the author of this incredibly moving memoir, and we instantly connected when we realized that our lives took a similar, terrible path when we were both 14 and lost our parents; Erin's mother and father in a car accident and my father and my cousin Brett in a plane crash. She had me crying before I'd even cracked open the book. Talking in L.A. we were teary-eyed and hugging each other and had barely met. Meeting her and reading a book like this was something I never expected to happen when I signed up for the SCBWI conference.

The book is beautiful and moving. I think Erin is so very, very brave to write this and go through the terrible pain and depression she experienced while writing the memoir. Read her husband's heart-wrenching account here: griefgirl . I'm so amazed Erin got through it and wrote it anyway even though she could have quit. I tried once, about 17 years ago, to write about the experience of losing my father. I fictionalized it, changed people and events - and it did not work. The story was stiff and melodramatic and I never tried again. Even though it's been thirty years since the accident, it sometimes still feels too close to get the right perspective, if that can make any possible sense.

Reading GRIEF GIRL had me crying of course, but a flood of details and memories kept rushing into my mind, things I'd pushed away with the effort to move forward and go on with my life, but reading Erin's account also made me want to try to write my story again. I'm not sure I'd write it for publication, but I'd really like to put the horribleness my family lived through and the grief and pain I personally went through at 14 years old down on paper. And tell it true this time. The real story. The actual facts. What really happened. I'm getting this strange feeling like I NEED to do this, not only for myself, but as a gift, a remembrance, for my family; my mother, my brothers and sisters, my aunts and uncles and cousins when we lost two family members that horrible December day when my father's plane came crashing down to earth and burst into flames 5 days before Christmas, and the day of my little brother's 5th birthday.

It's scary to think about reliving the tragedy and loss in excruciating detail - but I'm feeling this need to have a tangible account of that time and the aftermath that went on for years. To have a record. To talk about it. Because my family didn't talk much - we mostly held all the grief inside. As well as all our secrets.

To see Erin talking about the book go to her MySpace page and click on the video. I just love her.


Barbara O'Connor said...

Great post, Kimberley. It's wonderful that the two of you made such a heartfelt connection. I will look for the book, for sure.

Kimberley Griffiths Little said...

Hi Barbara! Thanks for posting. I've been thinking about you a lot lately and miss you! We haven't even caught up since SCBWI LA! It's a busy summer, but it's so nice that I can at least keep up with you through your blog. I loved your socks and feet pictures. :-) Gotta get ahold of THAT book, too. SO many good books out there these days. I wish I was a speed reader!



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