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A validating new approach to the long-term grieving process that explains why we feel “stuck,” why that’s normal, and how shifting our perception of grief can help us grow—from the New York Times bestselling author of Motherless Daughters

“This is perhaps one of the most important books about grief ever written. It finally dispels the myth that we are all supposed to get over the death of a loved one.”—Claire Bidwell Smith, author of Anxiety: The Missing Stage of Grief

Aren’t you over it yet? Anyone who has experienced a major loss in their past knows this question. We’ve spent years fielding versions of it, both explicit and implied, from family, colleagues, acquaintances, and friends. We recognize the subtle cues—the slight eyebrow lift, the soft, startled “Oh! That long ago?”—from those who wonder how an event so far in the past can still occupy so much precious mental and emotional real estate.

Because of the common but false assumption that grief should be time-limited, too many of us believe we’re grieving “wrong” when sadness suddenly resurges sometimes months or even years after a loss. The AfterGrief explains that the death of a loved one isn’t something most of us get over, get past, put down, or move beyond. Grief is not an emotion to pass through on the way to “feeling better.” Instead, grief is in constant motion; it is tidal, easily and often reactivated by memories and sensory events, and is re-triggered as we experience life transitions, anniversaries, and other losses. Whether we want it to or not, grief gets folded into our developing identities, where it informs our thoughts, hopes, expectations, behaviors, and fears, and we inevitably carry it forward into everything that follows.

Drawing on her own encounters with the ripple effects of early loss, as well as on interviews with dozens of researchers, therapists, and regular people who’ve been bereaved, New York Times bestselling author Hope Edelman offers profound advice for reassessing loss and adjusting the stories we tell ourselves about its impact on our identities. With guidance for reframing a story of loss, finding equilibrium within it, and even experiencing renewed growth and purpose in its wake, she demonstrates that though grief is a lifelong process, it doesn’t have to be a lifelong struggle.
The University of Iowa is a leading light in the writing world. In addition to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop for poets and fiction writers, it houses the prestigious Nonfiction Writing Program (NWP), which was the first full-time masters-granting program in this genre in the United States. Over the past three decades the NWP has produced some of the most influential nonfiction writers in the country.

I’ll Tell You Mine is an extraordinary anthology, a book rooted in Iowa’s successful program that goes beyond mere celebration to present some of the best nonfiction writing of the past thirty years. Eighteen pieces produced by Iowa graduates exemplify the development of both the program and the field of nonfiction writing. Each is accompanied by commentary from the author on a challenging issue presented by the story and the writing process, including drafting, workshopping, revising, and listening to (or sometimes ignoring) advice. The essays are put into broader context by a prologue from Robert Atwan, founding editor of the Best American Essays series, who details the rise of nonfiction as a literary genre since the New Journalism of the 1960s.

Creative nonfiction is the fastest-growing writing concentration in the country, with more than one hundred and fifty programs in the United States. I’ll Tell You Mine shows why Iowa’s leads the way. Its insider’s view of the Iowa program experience and its wealth of groundbreaking nonfiction writing will entertain readers and inspire writers of all kinds.
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