Several years ago I attended a week-long writing conference at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. It was there when I enrolled in a class of nonfiction writers led by Katherine Russell Rich. It was the luck of the draw that Katherine became my team leader. I was immediately impressed by her professionalism, excitement, kindness, and by the way, she was a hell of a writer. I loved her book, “The Red Devil: A Memoir about Beating the Odds.” Years later, when I began to write my memoir, I revisited her book and studied the passage I had admired years ago. It was written for me, I thought. Due to my struggles as a victim of childhood physical and sexual abuse, I became a student of memories. I spent years struggling to identify fact from fiction. It was then when I remembered a passage in her book that took my breath away. Katherine nailed the driving force to my writing that enabled me to face my trauma.
Trauma is a vampire, but light, as any student of Folklore or Freud knows, will kill it. The problem is, when the shell- shocked try to exhume their memories—to bring them into the light—the result can be a death struggle so fierce they may fear it’s them, not the suckling pain that’s about to die.
The Red Devil: A Memoir about Beating the Odds
–-Katherine Russell Rich