One of the most common questions I was asked during my trip to NYC last week was about the process of writing of THE RULES OF INHERITANCE. People wanted to know when I wrote it, what sparked the writing of it, how long it took, what the experience was like, etc. So I thought I’d write it all out here once and for all.

To begin with, there is no easy answer as to when I began writing THE RULES OF INHERITANCE. In some ways I’ve been writing this book my whole life, but technically I began writing it in March of 2009, almost exactly a year and a half ago. There have also been two other versions of this book. I wrote the first one when I was 25 years old, in the year following my father’s death. I never finished it, struggled through everything I wrote, and eventually realized that I wasn’t ready to write it. The second version I wrote was when I was 29 years old. I did complete this draft but it wasn’t very good. It lacked focus and flow and really just consisted of a lot of passages that were cathartic for me to write but that weren’t necessarily book-worthy.

I began writing the current version a year and a half ago in the spring of 2009 and I used nothing from the previous drafts, instead writing everything from scratch. I was actually on vacation in Florida with Greg and his parents when I began sketching out the framework for the book. I’d been in hospice for 3 years by that point and had decided that I really wanted to write a book about grief. Specifically, I wanted to reflect on Elisabeth Kubler Ross’s five stages of grief, but I wanted to give them a modern day spin and I wanted to show how fluid and malleable the stages are. During the course of my experience in hospice I was constantly struck by how many people clung to these five stages. The grieving clients I saw were always wondering if they were doing the stages right. I think I skipped the anger stage. Or I don’t understand bargaining. Or I haven’t gotten past the depression stage.

In my experience, there is no one way to go through the stages and a person might experience all of them at all at once or perhaps only go through one in their whole grieving process. It’s different for everyone. So, it was there in Florida where I wrote down the five stages and then underneath each one I wrote three examples of ways I personally experienced that stage. The result was a completely nonlinear tale that nonetheless made sense. After that I started writing.

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Published on November 09, 2011 12:32 • 342 views

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