In her debut memoir, local author Lorraine Salmon turns tragedy into triumph by writing about it. If this sounds like a simplistic prescriptive for grief, it might be just that. Sometimes magic is simple.
Consider the plot: She meets the love of her life as they’re both facing whatever comes after midlife. Their magnetic attraction to each other constitutes a scenario right out of a steamy, sexy romance novel. But the happily-ever-after premise of the story crashes down when her lover is suddenly diagnosed with cancer. He dies, but not until their hot passion becomes a monthslong expression of forever-after commitment to living together as fully as possible, given the dire circumstances.
What isn’t simple about Salmon’s writing of this account is, of course, the very act of processing her grief by expressing it in words on a page. Transforming what happened into an artful, compelling tale that brings readers to their knees with tissues in hand affects how she now holds the experience for herself: A tragedy, yes; one she’d rather not have endured. But in sharing it so deftly, Salmon touches on the triumph of thehuman spirit. It’s a good read.
“What’s better than this?” is a phrase that her lover Tom Mackey murmurs often while in the throes of their mutual happiness. To have translated that sentiment into the key takeaway from her experience is testimony of Salmon’s own spirit and talent as a writer. She’ll be reading and signing copies of the book titled What’s Better than This? at the Golden Notebook this Sunday. And check her website for information about a talk at the Circle of Friends for the Dying Death Café in September at www.lorrainesalmon.com.
Author appearance: What’s Better than This? by Lorraine Salmon, Sunday, June 16, 3-4 p.m., Golden Notebook, 29 Tinker Street, Woodstock; (845) 679-8000, www.goldennotebook.com.