WRITING ABOUT FAMILY

Here’s a great blog post on Jane Friedman’s site by US writer, Benjamin Vogt about digging deep to find the richness of your family stories.

In it he talks about how recent research is discovering how the emotional lives of our ancestors, the life events that shaped them and their psychological traits, can be passed on from generation to generation.

This is exactly the reason I am writing “Dear Madman”, a story that springs from the tragic murder of my grandmother’s sister as a child in rural South East Queensland. I researched not only my own family history, but also that of the man who killed her, discovering that there are indeed many sides to every story and most importantly – that if we wish to protect our children from the imprint of such trauma we need to understand and forgive the perpetrators of crimes, not for their sake but for ours.

Laidley Corn Day

Laidley Corn Day

I learned that, more than the horrific crime itself, it was my family’s inability to forgive the madman and God for allowing such a thing to happen, that had the most impact on future generations. On me. When I learned that my Great Aunt had never again entered a church after the death of her sister, I understood that feeling deep in my being. However, I’ve learned enough now to know that distrust and anger at Life only hurts ourselves. The madman found his own way to forgiveness and a kind of peace, my ancestors unforgiveness imprisoned them forever.

And so, back to work on it!