Author Name: Ellen Gable
Contribution to Image and Likeness: “The Death of Me, the Life of Us”
Bio: Ellen Gable (Hrkach) is a freelance writer and award-winning author (2010 IPPY) and publisher (2016 CALA), editor, Marketing Director for Live the Fast, self-publishing book coach, speaker, NFP teacher, Marriage Preparation Instructor, and past president of the Catholic Writers Guild. Find Ellen on Google+, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Amazon.
About “The Death of Me, the Life of Us”
How did you find yourself inspired to write this/these piece(s)?
This particular short story has been one I started to write years ago and it’s loosely based on a true incident that I witnessed. I have been wanting to finish the story for years, but just never felt inspired to do so. When it came time to gather stories for the Anthology, I wanted to contribute a story, but short stories are not my forte, so I finished the story and sent it to Erin McCole Cupp and Dena Hunt for their feedback. Both helped me to polish it so that it would pack the biggest emotional punch (thank you, Erin and Dena!)
What drew you to writing about Theology of the Body in this way?
The story initially didn’t have a Theology of the Body theme, and yet it was the ideal way to help the protagonist in the story see how important it was to live her life. The Theology of the Body does not just pertain to our sexual lives. It also pertains to how we live our lives every day and how we relate to others.
There is a lot of nonfiction out there on TOB, but the amount of fiction and poetry on the subject is certainly on the rise. What is it, do you think, about fiction and poetry that lend themselves to illustrating the tenets of the Theology of the Body?
Jesus taught with parables. Teaching with stories can often be more evangelizing than with nonfiction. I’ve certainly learned this from writing novels with Theology of the Body themes. In the first few years after my novel, Emily’s Hope, was published, I received a letter from a 20 year old college student thanking me for writing Emily’s Hope because it helped him to understand the Church’s teachings on sex and marriage better than any textbook he had read.
Some TOB stories and poems can be evangelization tools, and some can be messages of encouragement to those of us doing the evangelizing. Which do you think yours is, and why do you think that’s valuable to its audience?
Probably more of an evangelization tool about how we live our life and how grief and guilt impacts us. Its value is in how the male protagonist gently tries to help the female protagonist understand the value of life and the value of the relationships around us.
In your story “The Death of Me, The Life of Us,” you show us the power of love to heal the heart. How do you think Theology of the Body fiction helps us to build healthier attitudes not just about life but about death as well?
Death is a natural part of life. The minute we are conceived, we begin to die. For some of us, it will be 80 or 90 years. For others, it will end in the womb. The experience of losing someone affects everyone in different ways. Accepting the death of a loved one is not easy. Grief is a tricky thing. Guilt is also a tricky thing. Some people are uncomfortable with how others grieve. Grief is very personal and individual. By living the Theology of the Body, we can experience marriage — and life — more fully. While death is a part of life, life is still life. While we are alive, we owe it to God and others to live our lives as fully as possible.
What’s another story or poem in this anthology that spoke to you? What in particular in that piece reached out to you?
Pear Trees by Dena Hunt was beautifully written and is powerful. With its language and characterization, the author jolts us into understanding what it means to be a sex object rather than a woman — a human being even — to be cherished.
Thou by Gerard Webster is also beautifully written and illustrates the beauty of free, total, faithful, fruitful married love.