Sunday, June 6, 2010

Debra Monroe's memoir goes deep into what makes a family

Debra Monroe was my teacher when I was getting my MFA in creative writing at the school that shall forever be known as Southwest Texas State (some call it Texas State now). I sat down with her recently to talk for this piece in today's San Antonio Express-News. Her memoir On the Outskirts of Normal is a wonderful book you should all check out. It's caught the eye of Vanity Fair and will be featured in O Magazine in August.

Here's a taste of the interview:

"I'm fine, but I will never be who I was before," Debra Monroe said recently in the living room of her central Austin home.

The Texas State University creative writing professor is talking about the illness that nearly killed her, but she could just as easily be talking about the entire spectrum of challenges that make up her memoir "On the Outskirts of Normal: Forging a Family Against the Grain" — moving to Texas and shedding an abusive marriage, adopting an African-American newborn girl from San Antonio and creating a new kind of family in a Wimberley cabin, seeking peace with her own abused mother and — most important — affirming her own inner strength and ability to love.

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