“One way a child of Jody’s age deals with loss is that you don’t miss the person, in a sense you can become them. So, I have her step into the mother role, immediately trying to look after the younger ones and then wearing her mother’s sunglasses – it’s like she becomes her and then you don’t miss her so much. The neighbor is like an analyst figure, and she goes over and talks to this woman, Juliette, a very kind woman. I had Juliette say to her: ‘The way I see it, a death doesn’t happen just once, it’s like we have to keep being reminded that someone is gone – remember her – miss her a little more, until one day we can remember her without all the sad feelings. I have her to be the model for that for Jody – that’s the way you mourn, you have to keep remembering they’re gone, lose them again, remember them, and lose them again’.”
Episode Description: We begin with Kerry describing the storyline of her novel which starts with the sudden death of a young mother leaving behind five children and a husband. The story is seen through the eyes of the 13-year-old daughter, Jody, who recounts the family’s challenges through her own coming-of-age experiences. Tenderness and humor abound. The poignancy of this novel is made more real as it recounts some of the author’s own experiences as a young girl faced with the sudden death of her mother. We discuss the areas of overlap between fiction and reality and how her work as a psychoanalyst informs her ability to represent the thinking of the characters in the book. We discuss being surprised as a writer and a clinician and the ever-present imagining that people are never really dead.
Our Guest: Kerry L. Malawista, Ph.D. is a writer and psychoanalyst in McLean VA. She is co-chair of New Directions in Writing. Her essays have appeared nationally in newspapers, magazines and literary journals including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, The Boston Globe, Zone 3, Washingtonian Magazine, The Huffington Post, Bethesda Magazine and Arlington Magazine. She is the co-author of Wearing my Tutu to Analysis and Other Stories (2011), The Therapist in Mourning: From the Faraway Nearby (2013), When the Garden Isn’t Eden: More Psychoanalytic Concepts from Life (2022) all published by Columbia University Press, and Who’s Behind the Couch (2017) published by Routledge Press. Meet the Moon is her first novel.
Our conversation about her co-authored book When the Garden Isn’t Eden: More Psychoanalytic Concepts from Life (2022) can be found here.
Kerry has a memoir in press and can be followed at KmalawistaAuthor.com.
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A wonderful interview about trauma but more so the resillience after the sudden death of a young mother of 5 young children. A topic that is relevant to so many – from the average family that loses a young parent to President Joe Biden, Prince Harry, Anderson Cooper et al. Meet the Moon by author Kerry Malawista sounds like a wonderfully touching novel.
Thanks Karen for listening and your thoughtful note! I did hear Prince Harry talking about how he thought his mother was really alive till his mid-twenties.
Dear Kerry and Harvey,
thank you for this wonderful podcast. It was a very touching experience for me. I am a psychoanalyst in Sao Paulo, Brazil. I also lost my mother in a car accident when I was twelve and life had to go on. We were a small family, a brother of seven and my father who took care of us, but we had support from aunts, cousins and many friends.
I felt very identified in many aspects with you and I am going to read your book asap. Thank you again!
Thank you Norma for your warm note. It means a lot to hear the way the novel touches others who lost a parent in childhood. Best, Kerry
Kerry I love the way you tell your stories whether in person or reading them or hearing them as just now. I was with Jody and her mother on the ride down the hill. That is what is delightful. The reader feels it too. Like your choice to let the reader get to know her mother so that the reader feels the loss too. xoHarmon
Kerry, I listened to this podcast and then to the one with you and Ann. Both podcasts are wonderful, and, like Harmon, I was brought to tears hearing you share your own story and hearing you read from the book. I plan to recommend the book to my younger daughter who is a librarian not only because I know she will love your book, but also in hopes that she will purchase your book for her library. Warmest congratulations on this excellent novel. Maurine
Kerry, I listened to this podcast and then to the one with you and Ann. Both podcasts are wonderful, and, like Harmon, I was brought to tears hearing you share your own story and hearing you read from the book. I plan to recommend the book to my younger daughter who is a librarian not only because I know she will love your book, but also in hopes that she will purchase your book for her library. Warmest congratulations on this excellent novel.
Thank you Maurine for your note of appreciation. Clearly Harvey is a good interviewer! I so appreciate you sharing the novel with your daughter.
“Kerry and Harvey, What a wonderful interview. The questions and answers were so inspiring and Kerry’s reading part of the story was truly magical. I envision the book as a great movie. I cannot thank you enough for presenting this podcast.
Kerry, stick with fiction – I can’t wait for the next novel.
Congratulations to you both.”
Dear Jane. Thank you for your kind words. Love the idea of a movie 🙂
Congratulations on your new book – maybe an interview there!