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The Role of Visual Art in Writing about Trauma

To write a memoir about infant surgery as I have, one must often ease one’s way into the material–find a less direct way to crack through: Take the story by surprise. In my case, I chose art. Here are the pastel drawings I made before I wrote one word of the story.

The first pastel I drew was of my face and then my torso, tracing the ropes of tension I feel in my chest and belly. Drawing my scar onto paper, the rest of the story gushed through the floodgates–the slicing, the scream, the pain, the shock, depression, numbness.

The pastels as positioned here in the photo are not in left-to-right chronological order, but in the next posts, I will present them one by one as representative of a timeline, accompanied by short bursts of prose. 

Thank you for taking this journey with me.

2 Responses to The Role of Visual Art in Writing about Trauma

  1. Hi Wendy! Thank you for your courage in taking this journey and sharing it so we can forever dispel the myths that the youngest of children do not experience pain nor do they have memories.Looking forward to more exploration 🙂

  2. Hi Jen, Thank you for your strong comment that inspires me to keep posting and writing about this issue. More to come soon. So glad you are my audience.

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