Why do I write the “Good” write?
By Jennifer McBride
I always thought nonfiction writing was the bookish boring cousin to novel writing. I imagined that novelists were world-traveling eclectics, struck by wild and chaotic inspiration and physically adaptable to days without any nourishment but whiskey and cigarettes. Nonfiction writers were the clipboard-carrying rule-followers. In other words−the “Good” kids.
But, when I started writing in earnest a few years ago, I found that my best work was nonfiction. (I also sighed heavily a lot during those days at my lack of Bohemianism.) Then I discovered that nonfiction has a tremendous capacity to change lives−as much or not more capacity than fiction. And when I sat down to think about why I wrote, and why I wanted to write, I realized it was for one primary reason: To make sense of the world around me. Very quickly I discovered, though, that an incredible and accidental by-product of writing to understand the world around me was that others could understand, too.
It’s no secret that I wrote Touching the Trees in order to make sense of a failed long-term marriage and all of the decisions (or passivity) that led me to that point in my life. I wrote it in metaphors, with each chapter reflecting something I’d witnessed that made sense of what I’d experienced. Cape of Leaves’ title comes directly from the final chapter of Touching the Trees and describes the imaginary cape of leaves I let flutter out of my fingers at the end of that particular journey.
After those two books, I found additional writing inspiration after a close family member was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. I’d never heard of the disease and was hundreds of miles away from the family, feeling quite helpless. So, I worked with the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation to create Basement Daisies as a fundraiser for the organization. The original basement daisy was a flower I found growing in my basement, in the dead of winter, in a pot that had been brought in and unnoticed for several months. It was a miracle and became a symbol for faith in the unknown.
My most recent book, Child Less Parent: “Snapshots” of Parental Alienation was borne from the constant, years-long struggle I’ve witnessed in one father’s life. Until recently, I had no idea that the idea of Parental Alienation existed, let alone known anyone who was a victim of it. I wrote Child Less Parent for other fathers and mothers who may be experiencing PA and not realize it. The book offers advice for preventing increased alienation, mending broken parent/child relationships, and moving forward when realistic hope of reconciliation isn’t possible. The book has drawn international attention for its straight-forward information and illustrative photos.
All of my books have a purpose beyond entertainment. It’s incredibly gratifying to be able to write something that makes a difference – whether it’s in one person’s life, many people’s lives, or even just my own. I look forward to continuing this writing adventure in my next non-fiction project, which explores the relationship between popular pop philosophy and neuroscience.