The Living Room

When we moved in, the “citrine colored paint covered every surface”

My creative non-fiction piece “The Living Room” was published in Dreamers Magazine (issue 8: March-June 2021) and is now available on their site, Dreamers Creative Writing. If you know me or knew Susan, this is, as I’ve been told “a tough read.” Nonetheless, I hope you’ll read it.

A couple of people have expressed concern about the years I’ve dedicated to writing about this painful part of my life–losing Susan. Yes, writing has helped me process my grief. Sure, who doesn’t want to be a published author. My broader purpose, though, is to share my story and, in so doing, maybe help someone else, for even a millisecond, feel less alone with their own grief. That sentence seems trite. But it’s something I feel deeply.

And I’m fine, really! There are plenty of trite ways to say it: life goes on; no pain no gain; time heals all, yadah yadah. But no matter what, if you know me, please know I feel content with my life as I’m now living it. As content as a worrier can, anyway!

More to come

Living room door after trying to get the yellow paint off.
Doors mottled with a few stubborn yellow  spots

“The Living Room” is one of a quartet of essays about our lives (mine, Susan’s, and our son’s) before, during, and, to some extent, after Susan had ovarian cancer. This one is from the perspective of our living room–the long view of life. The next one I’ll be polishing off considers the contrasting attitudes Susan and I had toward her illness and death, as she travels through her last day out of the house under her own power–a walk in Susan’s shoes. The third is through my eyes: the chaos of her last day alive. The fourth may not come to fruition. In it, I imagine the story from our son’s perspective. But it’s his story, so his voice carries veto power.

I’ve outlined this quartet as another statement of commitment: I will get these essays finished and submit them for publication. In the meantime, I’m also writing some lighter pieces, which I hope won’t take six years to see the light of day!

Acknowledgments

I may never write a book, so I’m going to include acknowledgments right here in this post. I wrote the first draft of “The Living Room” in 2015 and got lots of help in Writing to Heal classes at Grub Street, taught by Jennifer Crystal. It also went through two workshops with a Medford writing group led by pal, and fellow Dreamers author, Kimi Ceridon. You have to check out her deeply moving piece, which is in the same issue (because she told me about the deadline!).

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