Okay life, you can stop providing writing material any time now…

Thank you for sticking with The Debutante Ball as it passes the baton to its 10th class! This blog peppered me with humor & hope for years as an aspiring author; I’m honored to have the opportunity to contribute. My 52-week stint starts now:

A friend recently commented that life has thrown enough complications my way to merit a memoir, but an exceptional memoir requires you to hand over the whole of your truth, along with your version of other peoples’ truth, and I’m too territorial for that.

picBut I borrow here and there.

I wish I LIKED MY LIFE were 100% fiction because that would mean I’ve never experienced the kind of loss that leaves you physically heavier than before. When I was fifteen, I lost one of my closest friends in a tragic car accident. It remains an alarmingly defining moment in my life. Introducing grief to raging teenage hormones and a fierce desire for independence shifted my priorities, perspectives, and curiosities, as well as shook up my relationships—with friends, family, and passersby. Suddenly everyone held the possibility of a private hell to hide. I LIKED MY LIFE started with a desire to explore mourning at that tender age.

Tapping into that challenging time is where the nonfiction ended and the storytelling began. I was inspired by a sentiment from Adrienne Rich’s poetry: If we could learn to learn from pain even as it grasps us. Isn’t that a powerful thought? I love the idea that slivers of beauty exist in life’s most antagonizing moments, if only you know where to look. I set out with three characters—Madeline, Eve, and Brady—as they learn exactly that, each on their own timeline and in their own way. I wrote the book for me. That their journey might find its way to living and breathing readers is wild.

And who knows? Maybe I’ll write that memoir and release it 60 years later, Harper Lee style.

A sidebar to the universe, on the off-chance it follows this blog: I’m all set with untimely loss, Rottweiler attacks, and near-death experiences. If you’re looking to hook me up with writing material, I much prefer mysterious flower deliveries and winning lotto tickets.

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Abby Fabiaschi is the author of I LIKED MY LIFE (St. Martin's Press, February 2017). She and her family divide their time between Tampa, Florida and Park City, Utah. When not writing or watching the comedy show that is her children, she enjoys reading across genres, skiing, hiking, and yoga. Oh, and travel. Who doesn’t love vacation? Learn more at abbyfabiaschi.com.

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This article has 24 Comments

  1. When listening to another persons life events it amazes me when a person says, “I know exactly how you feel” … No one … Including a parent should say this. Feelings and emotions are not interchangeable! The most personal thing you can have is a feeling! Good luck as you share this journey Abby! I am sorry for the loss you experienced ….

  2. Crying hormonal pregnant lady over here again! I feel like I’m going to explode reading this – so many emotions. I am so very happy for you, proud of you, impressed by you and genuinely thirsty for every word you put on paper. This absolutely made my day. So much awesomeness all at once. Love it!

  3. I had a lot of ‘life’ to work with for my novel, too, though it’s far from reality. Those experiences DO make you a stronger, more aware, writer in my view — and I love that quote. It’s so true. Can’t wait to read your story, and happy Deb year!

  4. Abby, this is a beautiful post. I think writing fiction from truth takes as much courage as writing memoir, because either way you must dig into your private pain and experience it anew in order to bring it to life on the page. But I do think writing about the tragedies in our lives, even indirectly through fiction, allows us to examine, understand, and maybe even forgive our responses to them, and this can lead to some degree of healing.

  5. “If we could learn to learn from pain even as it grasps us.”
    thanks for this quote, and for your beautiful post! the gift of writing is that it is a way to understand the word. So looking forward to reading your novel.

  6. Abby,

    Great post! I always think that it honors the person you’ve loved and lost to take the grief you’ve felt and channel it into something positive — changing the world, or creating one on the page.

    I’m so proud of you, I’m excited to read your next 51 posts, and can’t wait for the release of I LIKED MY LIFE.

  7. Abby, what a powerful post. I always think of writing as that devastating consolation prize. All the brutal experiences of life can always be counted upon to put us closer in touch with the human condition, with grief, heartache, and transformation. Thank you.

    1. Great question! Generally no, as characters are just that, so no one in my life would identify strongly enough to have grounds for offense. With I LIKED MY LIFE, I did make one permission phone call. I’m still close with my girlfriend’s parents and when I wrote the grieving scenes for the male protagonist I tapped a lot from what her father shared he felt. I wanted to ensure my fiction didn’t compete with his experience. He very graciously told me to write away…

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