This morning I finished reading The Reenactments, a memoir by Nick Flynn.
There are memories from our lives that we're desperate to re-live every day; then there are those we'd love to bury forever.
Flynn's memoir bravely chronicles the latter, as he recounts the filming of Being Flynn, a movie based on his earlier memoir Another Bullshit Night in Suck City.
His life was not ordinary: raised by a single mother in a Massachusetts beach town, his taxi-driving, alcoholic father was not around to see him grow up. Once he had grown up, his mother had committed suicide and his father was without a permanent address.
A lost soul in many ways, Flynn ended up with an addiction problem of his own, and was reunited with his father only when he began working in the shelter where his father sometimes slept.
He struggled with the loss of his mother as he tried to navigate his way through his 20s and maintained a complicated relationship with his dad; all the while becoming the brilliant writer that he is today.
This book shares in great detail what he felt like when each part of his existence was played out for the big screen, with Robert De Niro in the role of his father; Julianne Moore acting as his mother and Paul Dano representing him.
What's magical in the way he tells it is how capable he is of communicating surreality.
One can only imagine what it must feel like to watch real people behaving the way that people within your reality once behaved, right down to specific conversations—let alone the most traumatic stages of said life. Flynn somehow captures that, with his unique style of writing that reads more like short bits of poetry than prose, yet remains completely accessible.
Though much of it is painful to read, my hope for the writer is that by putting those words to paper, some therapeutic healing occurred that will allow him to move past those memories.
Flynn's courage in this raw retelling is nothing short of admirable.