Boiling a frog slowly is a courageous exposé of a romantic relationship that slides into increasingly disdainful and abusive territory, when love indeed goes wrong. In this interview, Joanne Hichens chats with Cathy Park Kelly about her experiences and the writing of her memoir.
Boiling a frog slowly, a memoir of emotional and physical abuse at the hands of an early lover and partner, is searing in its honesty. Your story shows how terribly difficult it can be for a woman to extricate herself from a relationship in which she is treated with violence and contempt. What prompted you to write your account of abuse at the hands of your male partner?
It’s what I do – I use my writing to explore my life and pick out threads that shine with truth for me. What I have learned, and what I am coming to trust, as I write more and share my writing more, is that these threads are universal. They are present in many human stories. When it comes to the story of the abusive relationship, I wanted to do two things: make sense of this experience for my own sake, and also make something out of this chapter in my life that I could share with others.
On the first, personal level, I used my writing to make sense of this chapter and to crack through the disbelief I was left with, to dig beneath the feeling of “What the f*ck?” to get at the truth of what it meant. I was weirdly fascinated, as well as confounded, by what I had gone through, so I used my writing to create some sense of order and understanding.
But, on the more universal level, I was driven to write this for the unknown reader out there. I felt that I had learned much and gained many insights, and this hard-earned knowledge burned inside me. It felt alive, like it wanted to be given a voice …LitNet