from Searching for Mercy Street, by Linda Gray Sexton
“As I wrote the book, I found myself reliving times that were both painful and joyous, accompanied by intense emotion. Many readers asked me if the process of writing it had been cathartic, and the first time the question was posed, I hesitated, looking for the right way to explain how writing a memoir impacts one’s life.
It had not been cathartic, exactly. The catharsis had happened before I wrote the book, in my analyst’s office. Writing it had been more like testifying, to myself as well as others, that such things had happened to me and that they acquired increased importance when reexamined.
As I told my own story, I validated my life’s experiences and toughened myself; it was a part of my self education, one that helped me gain control over what had once seemed unmanageable. Silence compels us to look at what lies behind it, and revelation brings with it knowledge—which is why some feel as if they must write about the private aspects of their lives, in search of solace and clarity.
To speak candidly, with neither justification nor humiliation, relieves the haunting memory and mind and becomes one way to regain our dignity and our strength.”