|Central Queensland University|
When my daughter, Rebecca, died of cancer at the age of 23, I had no words to describe this cataclysmic event. Though I am a writer and a teacher of writing, words failed me. It hurt to be inside my skin. It hurt to breathe. It hurt to hear laughter. The silence of my own home, the green beauty of my garden, the quiet paddocks, the river and the mountains provided no refuge. They were empty spaces that reverberated with Rebecca's absence. This new territory was so bleached of colour, so arid and alien, so lacking in anything recognisable, that I had no language to negotiate my way through it. And I could form no response to comments such as, 'Gosh, you're coping so well. I don't know how you do it. Now if this had happened to my child '
I turned to books on grieving to see if the words of others who had travelled this road before me could help me make sense of the landscape. On the shelves of bookshops and libraries, I found books on infant death, child death, sudden violent teenage death and adult death, but there was very little on the death of a young adult child from cancer. As I worked my way through academic literature, books by grief counsellors, psychologists, clergymen and bereaved parents, I found the reason for this dearth of information. Cancer in young adults is extremely rare. In Britain in 1999, only 0.5 per cent of cancer registrations were for teenagers and young adults (Birch, Alston, Quinn & Kelsey 2003). In the academic literature on death from cancer, only Grinyer's work (2002; 2003; 2006a; 2006b) focuses on young adults.
Clinical studies on grieving held no more meaning for me than did books by grief counsellors and psychologists who had not buried their own child. Where the clinical language of academic studies can be impenetrable to bereaved parents, personal experience stories can help them recognise milestones in their own grief journey (Duder 1998; Frank 1995; Holloway 1990). Grinyer's 2002 study, an analysis of narratives by parents of 18 to 25-year-olds with cancer, examines how it feels for parents to live through what Knapp calls 'the ultimate tragedy' (Knapp 1986: 14). These studies, along with books by bereaved parents, became for me an important part of what Frank refers to as the process of 'reconstructing [one's] own map' (1995: 17) and in what Schnell calls 'the cellular structure of my grief' (Schnell 2000: 15). However, not only bereaved parents, but others in the wider community can benefit from such stories, as David Clark, Professor of Medical Sociology at the University of Lancaster indicates in his foreword to Grant's memoir about the death of her young adult son from cancer:
Human beings seem to have a natural affinity for storytelling. Doris Lessing, on hearing she had won the Nobel Prize for Literature at the age of 88, explained her drive to write thus: 'Narrative is hardwired into our consciousness' (in McCrum 2007). Through the telling of stories and interaction with listener or audience, we give structure to our experience and create order and meaning. McAdams (1993) draws on research in developmental, social and clinical psychology to show how humans create stories throughout their lifetimes. He attributes this storymaking impulse to the human urge to make sense of and find meaning in crises by assimilating them into personal myths. Gilbert (2002) describes the process of mythmaking as circular. While the stories are a means of establishing a structure for our lives, that which we perceive as our reality establishes a structure for our stories. Such mythmaking begins in adolescence and is part of the psychosocial task of adulthood in forming identity. McAdams (1993) asserts that people are the stories and that the stories we create about ourselves constantly evolve as a way of maintaining identity and accommodating our changing view of the world.
Gilbert argues that narrative is a medium well suited to exploring the experience of death and bereavement. 'We live in stories, not statistics,' she says (2002: 223). The terminal diagnosis or death of one's child needs to be assimilated into the changed life story and worldview of the parents (Grinyer 2006b). This is consistent with Addison's explanation for the book she wrote about her son's death from cancer: 'These stories are my attempt to incorporate my memories of Charlie's suffering and death within the bigger picture of our shared family life and to chart a path through to inner peace, and the restoration of family harmony' (Addison 2001: 2).
Parents' stories of their children's deaths serve the same purpose as their stories of their living children's ongoing lives (Grinyer 2006b). As Clabburn says, in describing his relationship with his living daughter and his dead son:
Writing about the death of one's child is a way not only to continue bonds, but also to allow the 'wounded storyteller' (Frank 1995) to give voice to the dead. Parents in Grinyer's study (2002) were motivated to write their stories to facilitate catharsis in themselves, to honour their children, and to help others faced with the same situation. Storytelling has power, which may be used as a tool to help the bereaved construct a new reality. Morgan expresses it thus: 'We may not know what we think or feel until we have heard ourselves saying it' (cited Riches & Dawson 2000: 186). Through stories we can make sense of the past, understand how the present came into being and predict what is likely to occur in the future.
After Isabel Allende finished writing Paula (1995), the journal she kept while her daughter was dying, she lost her desire to write fiction. Four years later, she could not shake off her grief: 'It lives on forever, just below the skin' (Allende 2008: 114). A friend advised her that there was no such thing as writer's block. It was just that the well had run dry and needed to be refilled. Allende learned that she could refill the word well by travelling to different places:
This rang true for me. A year after our daughter's death, my husband and I travelled to the Arabian Gulf. As I began living and working in Oman and writing about the Omani people and landscape, my dreams returned. At the end of a year in Oman, I was able to write a few short stories that incorporated aspects of my grief. At this stage, unlike Allende, I found fiction easier to manage than a factual narrative.
The way each individual deals with grief is unique. A parent, whose young adult daughter with cancer hanged herself from a tree in the garden, told me that she forced herself to walk past that tree every day for five years until it held no more horror for her. While my research into parental bereavement contributed to the way I 'reconstruct[ed] [my] own map' (Frank 1995: 17), writing my story enabled me to 'walk past the tree'. Writing about a traumatic event does not 'disappear on the breath' (Bolton et al 2003: 97) the way talking about it does. The process of writing brings clarification to the writer and creates a reflecting place that allows the writer space to negotiate between inner and outer realities.
Where does one start to describe the death of one's child, the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual exhaustion of grieving, and the long, slow process of learning to live with such a loss? Allende, in comparing the birth of her grandchild and the death of her daughter, says, 'Once again I experienced the epiphany I had the day Andrea was born and the unforgettable night you left us forever. Birth and death, Paula, are so similar sacred and mysterious moments' (2008: 41). A friend similarly described the birth of her first grandchild. 'First there's the waiting. And the feeling of time suspended. Something calm, quiet and sacred. Birth and death are so similar ' This element of suspended time was something I understood, but I was not sure how I could capture it in a factual narrative. How could such a narrative delineate the sense of colour draining from the sky, the feeling of the earth holding its breath? How accurate could I be without sounding either detached or maudlin? While I pondered these questions, I began writing the exegetical component of my thesis. The focus on academic theories of grief and the language of bereavement created the distance I needed and postponed the moment when I would need to 'look at the tree'.
At this point, I came across Christopher Noël's memoir In the unlikely event of a water landing (2005). It traces Noël's grief after the death of his fiancée, Brigid, in a car crash, and his attempts to come to terms with it. He includes extracts from his diary, from Brigid's journal, his mother's journal that she kept when he was a child, letters from Brigid and letters he wrote to people involved with the crash scene. He describes the rituals and mementos he and Brigid's family and friends build to keep her memory alive, while his grief seems to be 'a quiet, endless bleeding out my eyeholes' (2005: 25):
Reading this reminded me that at the end of the first winter after my
daughter's death, I wanted to push the new green shoots back into the
ground, to delay the return of the sun, to stop the cherry blossom frothing
the trees, and to silence the newborn lambs. The shimmering light of spring
reinforced the fact that the world had not stopped turning, and this knowledge
My empathy with Noël's description of his lamenting was later rendered into my own work thus:
When Noël goes scuba diving, he follows the dive master into a dark underwater cave. The beauty of a school of fish thrills him. 'For a moment, I'm beat, I'm just flinched, humble, happy, all my shadows found and flashed away' (2005: 175). He tries another more challenging dive to confront his fear of the water. While there, he takes out Brigid's favourite shirt that he has brought with him and releases it to the sea. 'The two stones that I've tied into the left sleeve work like charms. I watch it going away from me, a mossy clump led by that sleeve into the dense, enclosing violet. And then, before it's entirely gone, I stop looking' (2005: 195).
After this trip, he finds his grief has still not abated. 'These five months, since my last night in Belize, I have tried without succeeding to crawl out of the shadow and start weaving life again, feel at home in the ordinary daylight' (2005: 210). He studies the police photos of the accident and meets the nurse who tended Brigid to find out every detail of what happened while she was dying. This, for Noël, is the equivalent of 'walking past the tree' and only then is he able to accept the reality of Brigid's death. He contrasts CS Lewis's spiritual experience of his dead wife with his own lack of such an experience, but concludes that 'it's through language that I can do my best for Brigid, to reach her, to let her reach me; she'd do the same if we traded places' (2005: 231).
Noël's writing, with its weaving of factual information, dialogue, flashback, metaphor and imagery, was for me, a far more powerful evocation of grief than the models proposed by researchers such as Bowlby and Parkes (1970), Kavanaugh (1974), Kübler-Ross (1970), and Worden (1982) with their emphasis on stages to be worked through until the goal of detachment and reinvestment was reached. As Walter (1999) points out, while those models may be useful in working with grieving spouses or relatives, they are not appropriate for bereaved parents for whom it is impossible to detach and reinvest.
Noël's writing was my introduction to the possibilities of creative nonfiction in writing about grief. This term acknowledges a genre that is neither fiction nor traditional nonfiction. Creative nonfiction, using the techniques normally associated with fiction, presents facts in a creative way (Gutkind 2001). However, though the label is relatively new - it was first used officially in 1983, in the application form for the National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, to distinguish between traditional journalism and the personal essay (Gutkind 2001) - the genre has a long history. The journalism of Daniel Defoe, Charles Dickens, Jack London and George Orwell, the memoirs of Ernest Hemingway and the cultural critiques of James Baldwin are all examples of literary nonfiction (Forché & Gerard 2001). In the 1960s, writers such as Norman Mailer and Truman Capote pushed genre boundaries by introducing fictional techniques into their nonfiction writing. In 1979, Mailer published The executioner's song, a nonfiction novel on the life and death of convicted murderer Gary Gilmore, for which Mailer was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. By the 1970s, Tom Wolfe, Gay Talese and Lillian Ross were publishing essays in The New Yorker, which, along with other work by Mailer, Rex Reed, Terry Southern and Hunter S Thompson, were labelled 'new journalism'.
New journalism metamorphosed through a variety of names, including literary nonfiction, factual fiction, documentary narrative, and literature of actuality (Forché & Gerard 2001; Gutkind 2001). It then became used as a label to describe the book-length works of the 1990s by writers such as Gay Talese and Tom Wolfe (Gutkind, Cahill & Skloot 2001). The categories of contemporary writing that can be classified as creative nonfiction are memoir, nature writing, personal essay, travel writing, critical essay and literary journalism. The common elements that run through them all are a flexibility of form that can cross genres, veracity, literary approaches to nonfiction and the personal voice (Root & Steinberg 1999).
After finishing Noël's book I re-read a letter from my aunt, written on 15 January 1991, after her only son, Maurice, the cousin I grew up with, had died from colon cancer. My aunt had nursed her husband and sister - my mother - through cancer, and she was a volunteer visitor at a local hospice. A believer in spiritualism, she was also one of the most down-to-earth women I have ever known. When I lived in Brazil, I dreamed that the deceased female members of our family surrounded her as she lay ill in bed. I wrote to her to say I was anxious about her. She replied that she had indeed been close to death and had woken on the operating table with a conviction of being surrounded by her family in spirit.
Rebecca resembled Maurice. When he died, she was 12. I thought many times as she was growing up that I hoped she did not resemble him too closely. When she was diagnosed with appendix cancer, I dreamt he came to see me. I told him how angry I was that my child had cancer at the age of 22. He simply smiled and invited me to dance with him.
Thinking about my aunt and my cousin, I remembered my mother's opposition to her sister's beliefs in spiritualism. Though I had been interested in the topic when I was young and had attended spiritualist meetings with my aunt, I did not intend to pursue that path after Rebecca died. However, subsequent experiences taught me that the spiritual dimension to grieving is as real as the physical, emotional and mental dimensions. My decision to incorporate some of my own spiritual experiences in my narrative were made on the basis that these were indeed my experiences. Subjective, yes, but to leave them out would be to tell only part of the story.
The subjective is not only allowed in creative nonfiction, says Gutkind (2001), but encouraged. Through the personal voice, a universal viewpoint can be illuminated, he says. This universal viewpoint is illustrated in Joan Didion's The year of magical thinking (2006) in which Didion describes the sudden death of John Dunne, her husband of 40 years, and her first year of bereavement. The book details the way Didion coped with her shock and disbelief while struggling with medical bureaucracy and at the same time being aware that her sick daughter might die too. Finding the self-help books on bereavement useless, she researched the clinical literature to find out all she could about why her husband had died and why her daughter had become ill. Consequently, her book is full of medical detail:
Didion's obsessive piecing together of the events that led to Dunne's death, her fiercely protective managing of her daughter's medical treatment and her inability to find meaning in words, are summed up in her statement that 'grief turns out to be a place none of us know until it happens' (Didion 2006: 188). Her stark, uncompromising prose refutes Wolcott's claim that creative nonfiction is either 'navel-gazing' or a 'sickly transfusion' of fiction and nonfiction (Wolcott 1997: 90).
Didion's repetitive use of the phrase 'this is a case' conveys her sense of trying to stay in control, as her life begins to spin out of control. My own use of the device is to convey the sense of shocked detachment that allowed me to function immediately following Rebecca's death:
Many books that have been marketed as 'fiction' are hybrids of fact and fiction. Erica Jong refers to them, in an article in the New York Times, as 'slide-forms' (Jong 1985). However, such hybrid works are not creative nonfiction. Roorbach (2001: 80) makes the point that even when fiction is autobiographical and memoir is fictional, the two genres are very different artforms in terms of writer intention and reader expectation.
Helen Garner's novel The spare room (2008) describes the frustrations and exhaustion of caring for a friend who is dying of cancer and who, in refusing to accept this fact, spends her time chasing alternative therapies. In an interview with Kerry O'Brien, Garner acknowledges that this book drew heavily on her own experience. However, by calling it fiction, she says, she was able to invent and 'free myself of the contract that you would normally have with a reader if it was nonfiction' (in O'Brien 2008).
In fiction, facts may be entirely made up, and snippets from the author's memory may be embellished. In creative nonfiction, facts should not be falsified and the writer is not concealed behind a fictional character (Gutkind 2001: 175). Nonetheless, fact is not necessarily the same as truth. Memoir might be said to be truth-based, but memories of people, places and conversations are selective and subjective. As Hampl puts it: 'even legal documents are only valiant attempts to consign the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, to paper. Even they remain versions' (Hampl 1999: 303). Roorbach adds that our memories, imperfect though they may be, make us what we are, and that in writing memoir, it is the memory of the truth that is presented, as opposed to only verifiable facts (2001: 79-81). The 'creative' in creative nonfiction does not refer to the invention of facts, but to how those facts are presented.
The catalyst for Australian writer Susan Addison in writing Mother lode: Stories of home life and home death (2001) was the death of her 19-year-old son, Charlie, from a brain tumour in 1995. Addison chronicles the 18 months of family life from Charlie's diagnosis to his death. There are stories of Charlie's life while growing up, the reactions to his diagnosis, dealings with health professionals, and the stories his mother 'swaddled him in' as he was dying, as she had when he was a child. Addison refers to these stories as 'Before Tumour' and 'After Tumour', and she repeated them at Charlie's funeral. 'I read his stories to the mourners in a grief-anaesthetised trance, my rib cage wrenched open, my wounds raw, my heart pulsing. At one with all mammals who suckle their young and thrash about when separated' (Addison 2001: 14). There are also stories about the deaths of Charlie's grandparents and the comparison of death at the end of a long productive life with one that occurs when adult life has hardly begun.
At his memorial service she says, 'My tears seep. This is not what I sent him off for, all those summers, with his cricket kit and lunch. Replay, this partisan spectator demands. This game's not fair. He deserves to play on' (Addison 2001: 56). Her despair at his dying is expressed in 'That it should come to this. This body I breastfed and nourished' (Addison 2001: 65). Her writing, unlike the objective reporting of non-literary nonfiction, exemplifies what Gutkind (1997), Roorbach (2001), and Root and Steinberg (1999) refer to as allowing the reader to live the experience:
Addison describes how her hopes for Charlie's recovery turned to hopes for a peaceful death for him when that was all she had left to give him. 'Like weaning him from breastfeeding, I came to believe that, mother and child, we'd both agreed to let go of our bond' (Addison 2001: 86).
When she confronts the moment of Charlie's death she has no words. 'The moment has come that my mind refused to imagine. I have been pushed on stage without my lines. I am empty of words and emotion. Absence of breath. The labouring mechanism of Charlie's body shuts down' (Addison 2001: 92).
The timing of Charlie's death is significant for her as it is the same time she used to collect him from school and the time mothers take their children safely home: 'My child has been absorbed into eternal silence. I am still here; that is the mystery. I exist in this life and from this moment onwards, Charlie is unreachable' (Addison 2001: 93).
The significance of time and having to let go her child, expressed in Addison's work, influenced the way I described a dream I had while camping on a beach in Oman on Christmas Day. The dream was about a friend who had died at the age of 20:
In Addison's mind, her son becomes the fast-growing wattle that pushes so much energy into exuberant growth and vivid flowers that it dies young. However, where she has consoling images, Charlie's father experiences disturbing dreams. The release from the intense caring for their son and readying themselves for the next crisis plunges the parents into a vacuum after his death. In describing this, Addison slips into the third person, creating a distance between herself and the enormity of her grief:
Finding solace in everyday routines, Addison and her husband were able
to function again. 'Lean inwards,' the mother nudged the father. 'We'll
prop each other upright and stumble forward together' (Addison 2001: 106).
She laments the fact that the natural order was reversed and that Charlie's
parents and grandparents had had to attend his funeral service. 'The unthinkable,
the unimaginable happened and the world would never seem predictable again'
(Addison 2001: 102).
A home care nurse brought the daily infusion bottles, the oxygen, and monitored the morphine pump. They had a hospital bed and re-organised the living room to accommodate it. The technical challenges were overcome. When friends asked if there was anything they could do she asked them to treat the family normally and to ring rather than wait to be rung. She also pleaded that they not be left alone to deal with the situation they were in:
As Alexander's chemotherapy began, his hair fell out and he asked the nurse to shave his head. This was the moment Grant was dreading. 'Nothing symbolised cancer more realistically to me than the sight of hairless children. Now mine was about to join their ranks' (Grant 2005: 58). As his condition deteriorated, she thought of him in his volunteer work, driving handicapped patients in a mini-bus every day, from Hamburg to Denmark. Alexander who, Grant says, had voted in a general election and shaved everyday, now lay helplessly on his back waiting for his mother to change his dressings.
She describes the skeletal figures with bald heads and big questioning eyes in the cancer ward of the hospital and the horror of seeing her son:
After the treatment, Alexander went into remission and Grant says people could not understand why she did not immerse herself in pleasurable activities once again. 'Everything was fine now, wasn't it? How could I describe this immobilising exhaustion and the fear of a possible relapse?' (Grant 2005: 116).
When Alexander did relapse she says, 'While I sobbed brokenly, he stroked me calmly and composedly. His broad neck. Shoulders and arms strong and muscular. His skin warm. I thought of the day when it would be cold to the touch' (Grant 2005: 132).
When Alexander refused further treatment, the family decided to make the most of the time they had left together and to focus more on life than on death. However, Grant also wondered on which day her son would die. She came home from shopping one afternoon and found a dead blackbird on the doorstep, which she took as a symbol of impending death. Soon after, Alexander railed against dying when he had so much he still wanted to do, books to read, a new relationship, writing a research paper on artificial intelligence, feeling the wind in his face while driving. The following day he changed his mind and said he had had enough. Soon after came the day when:
After Alexander's death, Grant did not want to return to her teaching job. She turned, instead, to writing, first contributing to and editing articles for magazines on bereavement and then working as a freelance journalist:
The personal voice, scene setting, dialogue, layering, tense shifts, flashbacks, metaphor and simile are all literary devices commonly used in fiction, and they are used to great effect in Noël's, Didion's, Addison's and Grant's memoirs on grief. In these books, however, they are used to illuminate fact, as distinct from using fiction to enhance fact or using fact to enhance fiction.
While reading these four memoirs, I felt as Schnell did when she describes her reaction to some of the books she found on grief: '[I] went beyond simple identification, to a literary critical appreciation of the way language was working in these powerful pieces of writing' (2000: 4). As Amy Dillard (1999) found after writing poetry for 15 years, creative nonfiction can:
This approach to nonfiction convinced me it was the right mode in which to write the creative component of my thesis. The next decision was where to begin. Rebecca was not defined by her death. She was a major part of my life for 23 years and she will continue to be a major part of my life until my life ends. I wanted, therefore, to incorporate her living and breathing personality into the narrative. Some of the people who loved her most and some of those who supported us most during her illness and death were friends we made in Brazil when Rebecca, my husband and I lived there for one year. In this country, Rebecca blossomed from a shy teenager into a confident young woman. I decided, therefore, to open the story in Brazil and to draw it to a close in Brazil with our return there two years after Rebecca's death.
I re-read all the letters I wrote to my family while we lived in Brazil, as well as letters to and from our Brazilian friends when we returned to New Zealand. Then there were the letters to and from friends and family about Rebecca's cancer diagnosis, the course of her illness, and her death. By the time I had finished those letters I was able to open the book in which Rebecca's friends and lecturers from the Art and Design School had written their thoughts about her. Then I could tackle the cards and letters we had received after her funeral. Finally, I read the stories and essays Rebecca had written for her sixth form New Zealand correspondence school course while we were living in Brazil. These all served to create a context for my narrative, though in the end, the only extracts I inserted directly were from Rebecca's stories and letters. In this way, her own words, her voice, her sense of humour and her unique way of viewing the world speak for themselves.
Only after I had written the section on our lives in Brazil could I 'face the tree' squarely and write about Rebecca's death and its aftermath. In writing about the placing of her ashes under a rowan tree in our garden, I wanted to convey a sense of the beauty and stillness of the environment and the stillness within ourselves, shattered by the shock of what we were doing. I also wanted to incorporate something of Rebecca's appearance and personality in the scene. The blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl, who rode a horse and studied art and Celtic mythology, was now ashes in my hand. The juxtaposition is meant to be shocking, but it is also intended to show the strength of Rebecca's character in the 'pure grit' analogy:
While focusing outward on the academic discourse that informed my exegesis, the incubating narrative grew and took shape, nurtured by more discoveries than I had originally imagined. It was time to crack open the shell. It was time for it to hatch. It was time for me to groom its feathers and steady it for flight. It was time for it to perch on that tree and sing alone.
List of works cited
Addison, S 2001 Mother lode: stories of home life and home death, St Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press return to text
Allende, I 1995 Paula, London: Flamingo return to text
Allende, I 2008 The sum of our days, London: HarperCollins return to text
Birch, JM, RD Alston, M Quinn & AM Kelsey 2003 'Incidence of malignant disease by morphological type, in young persons aged 12-24 years in England (1979-1997)', European journal of cancer 39.18: 2662-631 return to text
Bolton, G, A Jay, JG Pole, H Lyth, N Gibbons, S Kyeremateng 2003 'Who's speaking?', Journal of medical ethics 29.2: 97 return to text
Bowlby, J, & CM Parkes 1970 'Separation and loss within the family', in EJ Anthony (ed), The child in his family, New York: Wiley, 197-216 return to text
Clabburn, P 2007 'Facing life after losing your son', BBC News 27 November, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7109834.stm (accessed 28 November 2007) return to text
Didion, J 2006 The year of magical thinking, London: Fourth Estate return to text
Dillard, A 1999 'To fashion a text', in R Root & M Steinberg (eds), The fourth genre: contemporary writers of/on creative nonfiction, Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 270-78 return to text
Duder, T 1998 'Foreword', in B Gatenby, For the rest of our lives, Auckland: Reed Books return to text
Forché, C & P Gerard, P 2001 Writing creative nonfiction, Cincinnati, OH: Story Press return to text
Frank, AW 1995 The wounded storyteller, Chicago: University of Chicago Press return to text
Garner, H 2008 The spare room, Melbourne, Vic: Text Publishing return to text
Gilbert, KR 2002 'Taking a narrative approach to grief research: finding meaning in stories', Death studies 26: 223-39 return to text
Grinyer, A 2002 Cancer in young adults through parents' eyes, Buckingham, UK: Open University Press return to text
Grinyer, A 2003 'Young adults with cancer: parents' interactions with health care professionals', European journal of cancer care 13: 88-95 return to text
Grinyer, A 2006a 'Caring for a young adult child with cancer: the impact on mothers' health', Health social care in the community 14.4: 311-18 return to text
Grinyer, A 2006b 'Telling the story of illness and death', Auto/biography 14.3: 206-22 return to text
Grant, S 2005 Standing on his own two feet: a diary of dying, London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers return to text
Gutkind, L 1997 The art of creative nonfiction, New York: John Wiley & Sons return to text
Gutkind, L 2001 'Becoming the godfather of creative nonfiction', in C Forché & P Gerard (eds), Writing creative nonfiction, Cincinnati, OH: Story Press, 170-80 return to text
Gutkind, L, B Cahill & R Skloot with C Ford 2001 'The age of creative nonfiction: roundtable discussion', Nidus, Fall, www.pitt.edu/~nidus/archives/fall2001/rt1.html (accessed 15 September 2007) return to text
Hampl, P 1999 'Memory and imagination', in R Root & M Steinberg (eds), The fourth genre: contemporary writers of/on creative nonfiction, Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 297-305 return to text
Holloway, J 1990 'Bereavement literature: a valuable resource for the bereaved and those who counsel them', Interdisciplinary journal of pastoral studies 3: 17-26 return to text
Jong, E 1985 'The life we live and the life we write', The New York Times 20 July, http://www.nytimes.com/books/97/07/20/reviews/8041.html (accessed 15 July 2005) return to text
Kavanaugh, RJ 1974 Facing death, Baltimore, MD: Penguin return to text
Knapp, RJ 1986 Beyond endurance: when a child dies, New York: Schoken Books return to text
Kübler-Ross, E 1970 On death and dying, London: Tavistock return to text
McAdams, DP 1993 The stories we live by: personal myths and the making of the self, New York: Guilford Press return to text
McCrum, R 2007 'A natural for the Nobel prize', The Press 17 October, B4 return to text
Noël, C 2005 In the unlikely event of a water landing, New York: Authors Choice Press return to text
O'Brien, K 2008 'Helen Garner speaks with Kerry O'Brien', The 7.30 report 22 May, http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2007/s2253092.htm (accessed 1 June 2008) return to text
Riches, G, & P Dawson, P 2000 An intimate loneliness: supporting bereaved parents and siblings, Buckingham, UK: Open University Press return to text
Roorbach, B 2001 Contemporary creative nonfiction: the art of truth, New York: Oxford University Press return to text
Root, LJ & M Steinberg 1999 The fourth genre, Boston: Allyn & Bacon return to text
Schnell, L 2000 'The language of grief', Vermont Quarterly, Fall, http://universitycommunications.uvm.edu/vq/VQFALL00/language (accessed 2 February 2007) return to text
Tonkin, L 2006 Getting through it [pamphlet], Auckland: Child Cancer Foundation
Wolcott, J 1997 'Me, myself, and I', Vanity fair, October: 89-93 return to text
Worden, JW 1982 Grief counselling and grief therapy, New York: Springer Publishing return to text
Sandra Arnold lives in New Zealand. She holds a MLitt in creative writing from Central Queensland University and is the author of two novels. Her short fiction has been widely published and anthologised in New Zealand and internationally, and broadcast on New Zealand National Radio. She is currently completing a PhD in creative writing on the topic of parental bereavement.
Keywords: creative nonfiction; storytelling; writing about grief; parental bereavement
|Return to Contents Page
Return to Home Page
Vol 13 No 2 October 2009
Editors: Nigel Krauth & Jen Webb