Thursday, December 5, 2013

Good Reading for Writers: The Silent Wife by A. S. A. Harrison

Writers read because they learn the beauty of expression by studying and enjoying diction and syntax. They also read to enhance their understanding of the human experience, especially those experiences that hide just around the corner, out of our view, down shadowy alleys.

A. S. A. Harrison’s The Silent Wife (2013) is a wonderful read for writers who wish to peek around that corner, into the heart of a murderess and woman scorned with none of the Betty Broderick madness. We readers also bear witness to the carelessness that leads a man to his death. We learn about the collateral damage inflicted upon best friends and unborn heirs.

One paragraph may help you see the fertile ground that bears the fruit of insight:

She never saw the point in fighting with a man who was not going to reform. Acceptance is supposed to be a good thing--‘Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.’ Also compromise, as every couples therapist will tell you. But the cost was high--the damping of expectation, the dwindling of spirit, the resignation that comes to replace enthusiasm, the cynicism that supplants hope. The moldering that goes unnoticed and unchecked.

How many of us have marveled at the changes wrought by a relationship. I recall opening my refrigerator once after a love ended and realizing that nothing inside was my taste. I had completely shifted my buying habits, menus, and preferences. I had lost my own tastes in favor of another’s.

Harrison addresses that phenomenon, describing it as a subtle transformation whereby we smother expectations, allow our spirits to wither, settle for less than we desire, forsake hope. We perform in a masquerade at the end of which we cannot remove our costumes without endangering our identity and security in a relationship.

Thanks to Harrison and The Silent Wife for showing me how to speak about a thread in the tapestry of the human experience. 

Reading Challenge:

Read The Silent Wife.

Writing Challenge:

Select a passage from The Silent Wife and write about its insights.