Writing, Memory, and Healing with Kerry Malawista

Kerry Malawista
Kerry Malawista
Kerry Malawista

My guest this week is Kerry Malawista, a psychoanalyst and writer who uses writing to heal. She’s the co-director of the New Directions in Writing project, which offers programs in writing from a psychological perspective. Her publication credits include the Washington Post, New York Times, and Delmarva Review, which nominated her for a Pushcart Prize. Her first novel, Meet the Moon, focuses on a young teen after the loss of her mother. Kerry talks with me about how she came to writing later in life, creating a writing program—The Things They Carry Project—to help healthcare workers cope with the pandemic, how she turned her own story of loss into a novel, how we perceive memory and truth, and more.

Episode breakdown:

00:00 Parents’ encouragement led to unexpected creativity.

04:40 First published piece inspired by Costa Rica trip.

09:33 Overcame challenges, found success, inspired others.

12:09 Email testimonials show positive impact on frontline workers.

15:57 Led groups for teachers, immigrants, college-bound youth.

20:32 Reading shapes perception and understanding of truth.

22:59 Realization of an impossible event from memory.

24:34 Using writing to process powerful personal experiences.

30:25 Struggling writer finds inspiration to use imagination.

32:17 Fiction captures therapist’s view on loss and resilience.

34:58 Conveying ideas in a novel can be challenging.

38:48 Memoir vs novel: finding the right structure.

43:39 Humorous movie turns into husband’s choking ordeal.

47:07 Effective writing balances trauma with humor.

50:29 Use all 5 senses to describe experiences.

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Show links

Kerry’s website





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