Violent Crime & the Family: New Essay at South 85 Journal

The beautiful South 85 Journal has published my essay, “Family History,” in the new issue. This creative nonfiction piece is about a violent crime that occurred within my extended family. Writing this has been so difficult, but also necessary. I just couldn’t wrap my head around what happened, so I explored it in this way. I hope you read this piece because the sharing of it also helps me process it all. But a warning: it is about violence and family.

My great-grandfather’s gavel


Working on 100 Small Steps at Everything Art UK–this is day 15


Filed under #amwriting, art journaling, Creative Nonfiction, Family history, History, Literary Journals, Memoir, Publishing

23 responses to “Violent Crime & the Family: New Essay at South 85 Journal

  1. Oh my. I commend you with processing this brutality with such poignancy. My heart goes out to you, to even have to deal with this. Juxtaposed with that sweetness gene. lump in throat

  2. There are no words…

  3. Gut wrenching.

  4. Thank you for sharing this. So hard to wrap your mind around all your extended family encompasses and yet, important to tell.

  5. Amy

    What an awful nightmare. I am so sorry your family went through this. Your essay is so well-done and so painful to read—the contrast between your gentle great-grandfather and his descendant Sean is a shock.

    • Yes, what a contrast. Just horrible. You can see why I posted this on this blog and not TFK . . . . Thank you so much for reading it, Amy. And letting me know your response. xo

  6. Such a heart-rending tragedy. You handled it with such incredible sensitivity to those involved. I sympathize with your issue of disconnection by distance coupled with caring by connection and wanting to somehow assuage the pain of the injured and dead, as well as the perpetrator’s.

  7. Such an unimaginable tragedy for any family, Luanne. I can feel your conflicted self if this moving essay. Bravo! Worthy of publication for sure.

    • Thank you, Sheila. you can see why this link is on this site and not TFK. It’s just too heartbreaking for the family members who do read that blog–mostly those from my mother’s generation.

  8. I am speechless so I’ll use your words: “And how can I-who lived away from the family for twenty years-ask about such matters? Only one generation away from my mother, and yet I feel as if I don’t belong.” I relate to these lines in so many ways, but also I feel it’s why you can tell the story. You are the historian, the documentarian of this family, but you also have those emotional tethers. No matter how far away you live or how long since you saw your family, those tethers are always there.

    • Yes, Marie! It is why I can tell the story! I am connected, but not overly close. The tethers are always there is so so true. Thank you for understanding!

  9. Oh, Luanne, what a tragic set of events. Our family histories can seem unbelievable at times. Well written!

  10. So much to absorb about this story. Thank you for the portrait of your great-grandfather. And how skillfully you kept generations of folks straight. 🙂

  11. I have lived through this horror. I have been in therapy for 40 years and it is still a struggle. My adult children don’t understand. I understand your story. Thank you for sharing it.

    • I am so very sorry for what you have gone through and continue to go through. I am so glad that you continue to get therapy and hope that your children can come to some kind of realization that this is not something one can “get over.” Thank you for letting me know.

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