Eva Recinos on grief and writing for self-understanding
How have you used writing as a healing or trauma recovery tool? How does it give you autonomy and self-understanding?
A lot of my relationship to writing as healing goes back to losing my dad at a young age. I found myself journaling, writing poems, free-writing. This continued into adulthood, particularly the process of writing freely — giving myself the freedom to just ramble on and not worry about what it all sounded like.
Sometimes this content can lead to a more polished piece, but more often than not it's just a way for me to get my feelings out. Sometimes I hit an emotional epiphany — where I understand my frustration better, or where I plan a next step — but that doesn't always happen. What matters most is the space to just let myself be with messy, tangled feeling.
Do you integrate writing into your ritual/spiritual/magical life?
I have to say that I don't have much of a spiritual life but I do think writing can be spiritual for me because it's something I try to do every day. I think about it even when I'm not doing it. I use it to help me take the time to reflect on what I am grateful for. And I hope to use it to connect to others.
If we put three writers or books into a circle to summon you, who/what would they be?
Wow I love this question. I would say "The Book of Unknown Americans" by Cristina Henriquez, anything by Roxane Gay and any of the Best Food Writing anthologies.
Is there a single piece/book of writing that has helped to heal you? How has it helped?
I've written about this before but I actually have been reading quite a few YA novels as an adult. And I found that YA novels about loss helped me heal. In a lot of my therapy sessions about grief, I was encouraged to speak to that 12-year-old girl that lost her father and it was one of the most painful things I had to do. I found that books like "I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter" by Erika L. Sánchez and "Speak of Me As I Am" by Sonia Belasco really captured the experience of losing someone at a young age. I'd worked through a lot of my grief by the point I read them but I realized they definitely would've helped me if I'd read them when I lost my dad. And they were still a balm, of sorts, in my adult life.
Eva recommends: Jack Jones Literary Arts, Well Read Black Girl, Women Who Submit and People of Color in Publishing.
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