They Were Still Born Digital Essay

Fellow woodchucks,

Working Title: Writing Memories, Making Meaning: Narrating Grief Over Time

Quick Description: I am creating a website to help create a better web presence for my book, They Were Still Born: Personal Stories about Stillbirth, which is coming out in paperback this July. As part of that project, I am writing a reflective narrative about the limits of narratives, particularly about narratives that grow out of grief, loss, and trauma. The essay will not appear on the front page of the site, but on a page under the title “Writing Memories, Making Meaning.” 

Summary of Argument: This essay is more concept-driven than argument-driven. I revisit the impetus for creating the collection and then share the process I’ve gone through to accept the uncomfortable incompleteness inherent in writing personal narratives. I conclude with the realization that my relationship with a published narrative is similar to my relationship with my daughter’s memory in a broader, more diffuse sense.

Questions for my Readers:

  1. I am torn about how theoretical or scholarly this piece of writing should be. My instinct is to keep it spare in terms of citing others because my audience will be people searching for the book as opposed to readers who want to understand how my ideas about this topic of narrative limitations relate to other writers’. However, I also am concerned that my essay may not doing enough. There is an element of self-referentiality (naval gazing?) to this essay that has me concerned. Would you like to see me engage with other texts more?
  2. My piece is intentionally a bit disjointed. Does this form/content connection work for you as a reader, or is it unnecessarily frustrating?
  3. This is a more technical question. I want the website to be a) inexpensive but b) good-looking. I registered the domain name (yay!) but am still working through hosting as well as how the website itself looks. If anyone can point me in useful directions for tools or guidance to improve the aesthetics of the website, I would be really appreciative.
  4. I would like to include links to several pieces of writing my contributors have done about this or similar topics. Does it make sense to include them as links at the bottom of the page with my essay? Or should they be on another page on the site?

Thank you for your time and feedback!


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