Tell us a little about your book.
Something Wrong With Her is a “real-time” memoir that began as an attempt to probe and explain my experience with female sexual dysfunction and ended up initiating a re-connection with a boy from my past.
This is not a book about overcoming FSD. Rather, it is a memoir about a girl who didn’t feel the sexual awakenings she knew she was supposed to feel, and about the boy who loved her nonetheless. Thirty years later I went back to find that boy, now a man, only to discover that he’d never stopped yearning for me. Worse, in an attempt to numb his feelings for me, he’d sealed himself into an abusive marriage.
Something Wrong With Her may not have completely answered the original questions I set out to explain and find closure for, but it became a real-time testimony of my reconnection with this man during — and within — the writing of this memoir, and our candid wrestling with 30-year-old memories, questions and regrets.
You've published 17 books of fiction and nonfiction and are an award-winning author, but each new book poses a challenge for most writers. What were a couple of things you learned about yourself and/or your writing process while you wrote Something Wrong with Her?
About myself there are too many things learned to adequately provide here (for that I needed a book). But, as you say, it was the process of writing that exposed to me the things I learned (for many of those the word “learned” is too strong; perhaps “saw a glimmering that I could not quite articulate.”) So since process was what led to any possible form of catharsis, I wanted the reading experience of the book to be, as much as it could be, a repeat of my process, not a report of a finished thought-out product. So one challenge was to capture how thought and personal understanding meanders, circles, obsesses and dwells, sinks into despair, stagnates, leaps ahead, is raw, slippery, and constantly revisable. And yet I also wanted the book be readable, a journey, and have its own form of satisfaction (because it wasn’t a redemption or recovery memoir with built-in resolution). I learned as well to trust digressions, interruptions and new patterns; that it’s okay to not know what a book should be about when wading into it. Figuring out en route and realizing-by-surprise what the focus and important questions are is part of the process, especially when the process is the story.