That’s how I feel about Elizabeth A. Trembley’s “Look Again: A Memoir.” It contains essential information about life, creativity, and balance.
Everyone alive experiences trauma a some point in life. How we each individually deal with trauma will define the way the rest of our individual lives unfold.
I believe it is crucial for us to deal with trauma and take back our life, history, story, and very soul. Trembley’s book provides a template for thoughtful self-analysis of any trauma by examining her experience of finding a body in the woods while walking with her dogs.
How she deals with this event and puts it in context of her life, both for herself and her reader examines how events unexamined can shut down parts of our character, nature, and even joy.
In a book that is both poignant and often funny, Trembley shows that through real understanding authenticity is achievable. That’s a powerful message for everyone.
And it’s a critical message for anyone involved in a creative enterprise or looking to live in a fully creative way.
I don’t want to write about specifics on how she does this except to say that she examines the same life event in six ways to mine it for truth. And to excavate and set aside the self-limiting and self-stifling protective measures that are often our first response to traumatic events.
If you care about understanding your creative process, whether or not you believe you’ve suffered a traumatic event; if you find yourself living with fear or anxiety as a constant hum in your life, you need to read this book.
If you know someone who has suffered a traumatic event and has shut down in some way, you need to read this book, and you need to get them to read this book.
“Look Again” is not about being a victim of trauma. It is, instead, refreshingly about being the hero of your own life and reclaiming your creativity and understanding in a way only you can do.
The book isn’t about easy answers. The book shows that the process of getting down to what really happened and how something impacts you is something that is going to take some mental work; and that work is probably going to be uncomfortable. But you can do it.
Trembley is that rare author who thinks deeply about important issues and is able to convey them in an accessible way to a vast audience. She deals with dark material in an often light and humorous way. (I would feel comfortable giving this book to younger children to help start a healing conversation and remove their fears.)
If you haven’t already read “Look Again,” you need to put it on your summer/life reading list.
Where To Find the Book and the Author
You can buy this book through Amazon at this link. (I’m not affiliated in anyway.)
Or you can find it at independent bookstores across the country. (She is doing readings at various stores so call your local bookstore and inquire.)
Her website link is here. On her website you can also read about the reception the book has been receiving. You’ll also find a short video of Trembley talking about the book. (You can see the video here on YouTube too.)
The author is a former drawing student of mine who became a friend because it’s rare to find someone whose mind you really enjoy connecting with (and she did write her dissertation on Dorothy L. Sayers! Come on!)
When I read her book I wrote to her and told her it was great. She said it was “high praise indeed coming from you as I know you’re not a bullshitter.” If you’ve been reading my blog for the past fourteen years you’ll know I’m not shy about telling you exactly why like or don’t like something.
I love this book. I think everyone needs to read it.