We write about the dead to make sense
of our losses, to become less haunted,
to turn ghosts into words, to transform
an absence into language.
— Edwidge Danticat
The Art of Death: Writing the Final Story
Writing about death, it turns out, is difficult. Emotionally, it is easy because grief is both wrenching and cleansing, and feels urgent and necessary. But such writing tends toward maudlin. How to write heartfully but without cliche? How to feel, but with measure? And why write about death, the most personal and moving of all actions, anyway?
I've been writing about death a lot. No surprise, really, it's been a season of loss and I write with a pall that comes naturally. Sunny is not my default. And yet, writing about sadness helps me to carry the weight, helps me get to sunny. Or something. This is why I write. To make sense, to get through.
Edwidge gets it, do you?