Writing as Therapy and Revelation

[cw for both articles: mentions of physical & sexual abuse]

I read a non-fiction piece by Alexander Chee on the Sewanee Review called The Autobiography of My Novel. In this piece, Chee reflects on the process of writing his first published novel and the struggle of writing about real things he’s experienced through the lens of fictional characters. It’s a really amazing piece and a good read for people writing novels, or hoping to someday.

Reading it reminded me of the Junot Díaz piece that came out in The New Yorker recently, The Legacy of Childhood Abuse. Junot writes about the abuse he suffered as a young kid and how and why he hid it, refusing to acknowledge it even to a reader who may have needed a moment of solidarity with the author.

These pieces aren’t just for writers either. Stories like this remind us that we’re not alone in the world. But from the perspective an author, seeing how other authors have taken their experiences and written them consciously or unconsciously, or as a form of their own therapy is worth reading about.