HOW FICTION CAN HELP YOU HEAL
When I first realized the intimacy between my mother and my husband, I was devastated. At that time I was in the maternity ward in Paris , having just given birth to my daughter. My mother had come from Long Island with the idea of helping me-but I had been fearing her visit, as we had always had a difficult, conflicted relationship.
I wrote the story as a way of gaining greater clarity, compassion, and understanding. Fiction gave the distance and perspective I needed for clarity. By writing from my mother's point of view as well as my own long-ago voice, I attempted to understand her more deeply and to forgive her.
There was a mix of unresolved feelings towards her. Beneath the level of personality, we deeply strongly loved each other. the story was basically an homage to her spirit, an attempt at reconciliation.
The healing effect of writing is that tangled thoughts, emotions, sensations are clarified, brought into the light of day, made conscious. The act of laying out the elements in words has a cathartic, healing effect, as painting or creating music may have. I found that in the process of writing this story, my perspective changed and I was, a sense, transformed.
About the book "Dying Unfinished":
Using her own love-rage relationship with her mom as a catalyst, American Book Award winner Maria Espinosa weaves fact and fiction in her latest highly acclaimed novel Dying Unfinished. A novelist, poet, translator, and teacher, who has been reviewed in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, New York Review of Books, and The San Francisco Chronicle, Maria is featured in the Contemporary Authors Autobiography Series. This latest book is the follow-up to her critically acclaimed novel Longing.
Dying Unfinished is about a mother and daughter's difficult relationship made more so by the mother's affair with her daughter's husband. Narrated by both women this tumultuous story coincides with a 70 year period where the world under went massive change.
About Maria Espinosa:
Born Paula Cronbach in 1939 to a family of German Jews with hidden Sephardic origins, Maria Espinosa's mother lived in Spain until the 18th century. They concealed their identity until the family finally made their way to Brussels , where they could openly practice their religion. From there they moved to eastern Europe and finally to the United States .
Espinosa grew up on Long Island , the child of a sculptor father and a poet mother. She attended Harvard and Columbia universities and received a MA in Creative Writing from Can Francisco State University . She met and married her first husband, Chilean writer Mario Espinosa Wellmann, while living in Paris . In 1978 she married Walter Selig, who had fled Nazi Germany as a child to grow up on an Israeli kibbutz.
Espinosa has taught at New College of California and City College of San Francisco. She is the author of three prior novels, Longing (Arte Público Press, 1995), Dark Plums (Arte Público Press, 1995), and Incognito: Journey of a Secret Jew (Wings Press, 2002). Longing received an American Book Award in 1996 and has been translated into Greek. Espinosa is also the author of two books of poetry, Night Music and Love Feelings. She translated George Sand's novel, Lélia, which was published by Indiana University Press.
Espinosa's poetry, articles, translations, and short fiction have appeared in numerous anthologies and periodicals, including Anthologies of Underground Poetry, edited by Herman Berlandt, In Other Words: Literature by Latinas of the United States , edited by Roberta Fernández, and George Sand's Ma Vie, edited by Thelma Jurgrau. An interesting midnight interview with the Israeli writer, Amos Oz, appeared in Three Penny Review.
She attended Harvard and Columbia Universities and has a Masters Degree from San Francisco State University. She's taught creative writing and contemporary literature at New College of California and San Francisco City College. Also, she teaches English as a second language at Merritt College in Oakland.