My sister Kate (1962-1999), a loving, funny, and charismatic woman with a strong sense of determination, was struck down by breast cancer at a much too early age, when she was just finding her way in the world. She was also afflicted by an injury, at birth, that selectively damaged her brain, resulting in developmental, cognitive impairments alongside an otherwise perfectly functioning emotional psyche.
What she taught me could fill a book, and writing that book is a high priority. I think her story would be highly instructive, and I hope that my telling of it, conveying the imprint of her extraordinary life on my own, would help to illuminate that story.
Saturday, November 2, 2019
After a good long time, this book, now entitled The Song of Kate Elizabeth, now actually exists as a printed draft of 20 chapters and 425 single-spaced pages (whew) that cover grief, disabilities, siblings, families, mothers who are loving but happen to be profoundly mentally ill, the creative process, race, IQ, intelligence, humor, memory, imagination, music, survival, hierarchy, normality, self-respect, bodily attributes, the divine, and then some.
I’ve shared the “Song” with a few people, and now I’m in the process of workshopping it, “socializing” it, as it were.
If you are among those individuals who have read it, please use the comment box below to share any thoughts. If you are like most people, well, this is how it begins, and here is an excerpt from the middle; I’d be grateful to hear any thoughts you might have as well.
One question I have for all of you is, would you call this:
- A memoir with fictitious elements and devices, or
- Fiction with true-story elements?
If you have any questions about this project that you don’t feel like posting here, just ask.