How to Drown a Husband: Five Bells, Four Chambers, and Saturday Nights at Sea
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© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group An autoethnography of a marriage and its demise, this work relies on the reflective modality of the lyric essay to consider the role of memory in love, heartbreak, and reconciliation. Examining two characters from different cultures whose ancestors fought for opposing sides during World War II, this story wonders if their marriage was doomed by history and the silences of intergenerational shame that emerged in Germany particularly during the post-war occupation period. Using the methodology of the witnessing imagination this essay also argues that creative writing gives shape to traumatic historical events and allows remarkable access to complex processes of recovery. Two poets—Kenneth Slessor and Joseph Brodsky—are employed as metaphoric soldiers fighting over the terrain of memory alongside the ‘witness’ author, interrogating personal issues about the on-going heartbreak of a failed marriage which come to symbolise larger concerns of social and political reconciliation. The notion of memory’s integrity to acts of reconciliation is explored through storytelling which relies on the ethical foundations of bibliotherapy as a creative practice devoted to healing trauma. This account of love and its subsequent heartbreak in a post-traumatic, ‘occupied space’ suggests that lyrical interventions afford distinctive opportunities for enhanced understandings to emerge.