JOY RIDES THROUGH THE TUNNEL OF GRIEF: A MEMOIR
ABOUT THE BOOK
Joy Rides through the Tunnel of Grief is a fresh and ferocious memoir-in-essays that maps the boundaries of love, language, and creative urgency. When Nelson’s father dies from an accident caused by complications from alcoholism, she knows immediately she has inherited his love―that it left his body, traveled through the air, and entered her own. And so, she needs a place to put it. She needs to know what to do with it, how not to waste it, how to make something with it, how to honor it and put language to it. So, she places it with her brother, Eric, whose opioid addiction makes his death feel always imminent. With her partner, Jack, together for fifteen years. With her exhausted, grieving mother, her best friend Jessie, women at the gym she’s never had the courage to speak to, but loves completely. But mostly, she places it with her future child, the one she does not yet have but deeply wants. The child who is both the question of love―and the answer to it.
So, when Jack suddenly confesses that he does not want to have children―not with her, not ever―the someday vessel for her boundless and insatiable love hunger swiftly disappears, taking with it a fundamental promise of her life: motherhood. Joy Rides through the Tunnel of Grief catalyzes from this place. Fluidly navigating through past, present, and future, Nelson asks: Where does her desire to have a child come from? How does wonder charge and change a life? Are the imperatives to make art and to make a child born from the same searching place? Are they both masked and misguided attempts to thwart death? Nelson investigates the tremulous makings and unmakings of our most intense and fragile bonds―family, friends, lovers―with searing insight, humor, and tenderness.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jessica Hendry Nelson is the author of the memoir If Only You People Could Follow Directions as well as Advanced Creative Nonfiction: A Writers’ Guide and Anthology with coauthor Sean Prentiss. Her work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Tin House, the Threeepenny Review, North American Review, the Los Angeles Review of Books and elsewhere. She teaches at Virginia Commonwealth University and in the MFA Program at the University of Nebraska in Omaha. She lives in Richmond, Virginia.