Author: Esther Altshul Helfgott

Essays History Literature

Interleavings: Serendipity and Auto/Biographical Process

I spent a good part of today searching for page numbers for footnotes in an essay I’m finishing up. The writing’s finished but my citations aren’t. No one’s fault but my own. Did I really think I would remember the page number to footnote 19 or to footnote 23 or to footnote 33? Nonetheless, good things came from my search, not the least of which is an answer to the question “Why write biography?”

Essays History Literature

Interleavings: Serendipity and the Auto/Biographical Process

Biographical and autobiographical writing entwine. Why did I choose to write about a woman I never met and had no ties to—except for my interest in Jewish women’s history and the field of Psychoanalysis? Immediately the writer’s self is injected into the story. Sometimes Dr. Buxbaum turns up in my dreams, and in the morning I have to sort out the dream so it won’t get mixed up with biography.

Poetry

Sonnet for Abe

My love for you continues to this day.
With our photographs and history I stay.
Writing stories of our life together
keeps me brave: Alive, and feeling better.