Thursday, November 5, 2015
"From Trauma to Writing" Response
Marian MacCurdy's essay on healing through writing was exactly the type of essay I've been looking for to include in my research for the pedagogy of writing and healing. MacCurdy addresses the delicate balance between an emotionally-literate writing class and therapy. Writing about trauma doesn't necessarily (and usually isn't) about the most emotionally-charged or intense experiences. And if they are, they need to be approached in organic, natural ways. She claims that "once students get beyond the clichés that can undermine the power of the experience, I have found that those emotionally charged topics can generate sharp imagery, clear sensory detail, and thematic sophistication" (MacCurdy 159). She moves on to examine how writing about trauma actually helps students master literary devices more than traditional academic writing. Because trauma is non-linear, non-verbal and imbedded within images, sensations, etc., learning how to "show don't tell" is essential to convey an experience effectively. It's a win-win scenario. Writing about trauma helps take a chaotic event and help recover from it by making sense of it and being heard, while also more effectively teaching a student how to write.