I’ve been reading Emily’s blog for about three years now. Her posts are nuanced, sensitive, and engaging, and cover everything from writing to re-locating (she and her family move often), to cooking healthy foods (from scratch), and to raising her three children.
It may be surprising to learn, then, that a woman so devoted to her children, so successful in a career, so talented a writer — suffered terrible physical, verbal and emotional abuse as a child.
I’m in the middle of reading her memoir Behind the Woodpile on my Kindle, which you can download FOR FREE, today only. It is a harrowing tale of the death of Emily’s mother when Emily was still a toddler, and the abuse and neglect she endured from her step-mother.
But Woodpile is so much more than an abuse memoir. Because woven between her stories of fear and neglect, are the heartfelt tales of the love, frustration, and laughter that comes from being a mother to small children. By reading the narratives side-by-side, Emily shows us that hope can come of hurt, and that happiness can follow pain.
I don’t know whether Emily has made peace with her past– I don’t know whether it’s possible for anyone to make peace with a childhood defined by abuse. But I’m incredibly inspired by how Emily has chosen to live her life in the present, and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for her future.
WHEN DOES SHE WRITE?
It’s 5:03 AM. I turned the alarm off three minutes ago. I want to go back to sleep because that’s what one does at 5:03 AM. Instead, I swing my legs out of bed and tiptoe downstairs. Ignoring the cat, who is meowing to get out of the basement, I preheat the oven and then butter and flour a bread pan. I pull a bowl from the fridge: the wet ingredients for pumpkin bread that I mixed last night. I stir in the dry ingredients, also pre-measured before bed. I dump it all in the pan, slide it in the oven, and tiptoe back up to my computer. It’s 5:14. I have an hour to work.
It’s the most productive hour of the day. Before I’ve squandered my creative juices on packing lunches, brushing little teeth, showering, or hollering “get your shoes on!” It’s just me and the words. I sit, ignore my email, and open the Word document. I enter the zone.
It’s elusive at any other hour of the day. But now? Now I can pound out three pages in an hour. Now I’m funny and my sentence structure is sublime. Words appear from nowhere and glide out my fingertips. Paragraphs form themselves. An hour at 5 AM is worth two hours any other time of the day.
I work until 6:15 and then shut my computer. I go down to pull the pumpkin bread from the oven so it can cool to go into lunches. I begin assembling breakfast.
Later, after I’ve dropped off my kids, I’ll go running. I’ll come home and shower and I won’t re-open my computer till 10:00. By then, I may be able to write, but some days all I’m good for is editing, invoicing, and general maintenance.
No matter. I’ve already written.
BIO: Emily Rosenbaum is a writer who lives in Boston with her three kids. She writes for academic institutions and blogs at http://emilyrosenbaum.com. Her memoir, Behind the Woodpile, is about parenting as an adult survivor of child abuse. It’s available for download here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009QD2ARI.
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