In this episode of Life Stories, the podcast series where I interview memoir writers about their lives and the art of writing memoir, I chat with Emily Rapp about The Still Point of the Turning World, an account of parenting a son diagnosed with Tay-Sachs disease at nine months. Rapp talks about how the diagnosis for this rare degenerative disorder came as a complete shock—she’d actually been tested to determine if she was a carrier and had been all but cleared—and the solace she got from other parents facing the same situation. She also describes how writing about life with Ronan as they were living it helped not just to bring her back from the edge of despair, but showed her the possibility of living without holding herself back.
Rapp cites former Life Stories guest Cheryl Strayed and the emotional support she offered in our conversation—I also noted, as I was preparing this audio for uploading, that another former guest, Sarah Manguso, had written a thoughtful review of Rapp’s memoir for the New York Times, describing it as “a brilliant study of the wages of mortal love.”
Listen to Life Stories #27: Emily Rapp (MP3 file); or download the file by right-clicking (Mac users, option-click).