How do I face death, loss of hearing, loneliness, mental illness in a loved one and so many of the other very hard to face situations in life? One way is to write about them and another is to read about them. How are others talking about and confronting these issues?
I have found an excellent source for this in The Examined Life, a literary journal of the Carver College of Medicine at the University of Iowa, a university renown for its creative writing program. I am a little embarrassed to write about it as it looks like I am tooting my own horn. I have an article in the most recent edition entitled “Two Doctors who Believed Strongly, One Wrongly,” which compares the two doctors who treated my mentally ill mother as described in my memoir Examined Lives, one gave her a lobotomy while the other believed in her ability to return to a relatively normal life. But when I recently received my author copy of the Spring 2019 edition I started reading the other pieces—fiction, nonfiction and poems—and have been blown away by the extraordinarily high quality of the writing and the insights it has brought me about a whole range of issues. Once I started a story or article I literally could not put it down.
These are not your happy-ending stories where everything turns out alright. They are piercing, giving new perspectives and at least the comfort that others share life’s trials head-on. If you are interested, check it out at http://theexaminedlifejournal.com.