SENSE OF A BEGINNING
Happily ever afters don’t have to involve a fairy tale wedding followed by staying together for the sake of the children, come what may, says début author Cristín Leach.
The art critic speaks candidly about her marriage breakdown in her memoir, Negative Space, featured in the latest episode of the City of Books podcast sponsored by Dublin UNESCO City of Literature.
A text message with distressing information pinging onto her phone marked the beginning of the end for her relationship. “The book takes you (the reader) to places that are very vulnerable and very personal and some of it is uncomfortable to put down on the page,” Cristín tells podcast host Martina Devlin.
“I didn’t want it to be a bitter or an angry book. When my marriage ended initially there was anger, there was bitterness, there was sadness, there was grief.”
The mother-of-two says she couldn’t have written the book around the time of her 2018 divorce, but she was able to put the story into words when she was in a more positive place in the aftermath.
“I couldn’t have written it unless I’m at a point where l’m not bitter and angry and sad any more – I can see it as a beginning. That moment of shock and fear and panic was the beginning of me starting to figure out how to live a different life. A marriage ending doesn’t have to be the end.”
With memoir, Cristín stresses it’s important to know which part of the story is yours to tell. She says she realised she didn’t have to reveal every single detail of key moments in her life because readers would fill in any blanks they needed. But she was obliged to share enough so that people were in the story with her.
Elsewhere on City of Books, Cristin, who writes about art for the Sunday Times, says: “I don’t feel that there’s any one reading for a work of art. Everyone who encounters music poetry books paintings films brings themselves to it. There’s something shared when we all encounter it.”
Negative Space by Cristín Leach is published by Merrion Press