We’re going to talk about families on this edition of “Two Way Street.” Most of us have them, and for better or worse, our families probably have had a greater influence on how we turned out than many other forces in our lives.
I was looking for quotes to help introduce the show and came across two I really liked. Rick Riordin, the author of the Percy Jackson books for young readers, gave one of his characters this line: “If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the eons it’s that you can’t give up on your family, no matter how tempting they make it.” George Bernard Shaw put it another way: “If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.”
And that’s what our guests today have done – taken their complex, troubled, but some times joyous relationships with their families and written powerful books about their experiences.
First, you’ll hear from poet Molly Brodak. Her book “Bandit: A Daughter’s Memoir" is the account of growing up with a father who she tells us was a liar, a con man and finally, a twice-convicted bank robber. But despite it all, she tells us, he remained family.
Then we talk with Atlanta writer Jessica Handler about her two books – both of which deal with loss and grieving. “Invisible Sisters” is a memoir in which she recounts the ways she and her parents struggled to deal with the premature deaths of her only two siblings. In dealing with her grief, Jessica found writing to be an important part of the healing process. She went on to lead workshops teaching others how to write about loss. Her second book “Braving the Fire: A Guide to Writing about Grief and Loss,” imparts many of the lessons she learned and that she teaches in her workshops.