Writing a book about the past is like assembling a decrepit jigsaw puzzle after the box has rotted away.
The colors are blurred and faded, the edges have missing tabs, and some pieces have vanished altogether. Clues to the identity of the image appear only in fits and starts as sections of the puzzle are compiled. Many of the details can never be recovered. So why bother?
Perhaps we write about the past to gain an understanding of it. Or maybe we feel this is the best way to set it aside and move forward into a brighter future. Or could it be that we write because we know someone out there, someone a lot like us, is struggling to muster the strength to get through another day? We write because reading the stories of people who’ve spent time in the trenches, survived, and found their way to the surface again can rekindle hope in a despairing heart.
Authors who dug deep into their own pasts in order to drag the truth into the light gave me hope and strength in my own blackest hours. The chiaroscuro book I’m writing is my own attempt to pay it forward.