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Join us for a talk by Eleanor Fitzgerald (2010) entitled Picking Up The Pieces: Writing Through Trauma
“Real or not real? So many times I've had dreams that I was so sure were real, but they turned out to be fiction. I know trauma and abuse will blur, if not break, those boundaries and I have been traumatised to the point of madness; how am I supposed to keep track?” - The Forest, Eleanor Fitzgerald.
Trauma has a profound effect on the lives of millions, if not billions, of people all around the world. Whilst there is an active societal shift towards openly discussing traumatic events, so much of the discourse surrounding trauma is still focussed on the negative, often debilitating, repercussions it has on the traumatised individual.
Picking Up The Pieces is a journey into the after-effects of trauma, focussing on the healing process. Drawing on her novel, The Forest, and the short stories contained within Hymns For The Gallows Volumes One and Two, Eleanor will discuss writing as therapy for both historical and ongoing trauma and will show that it is possible to not just survive, but to flourish after experiencing such events.
Fiction is a useful tool for approaching and exploring a traumatic event. Just as we use robots to probe inhospitable and dangerous environments on our behalf, fictional characters can explore and experience events that are too triggering and volatile to be approached directly; what is fiction, after all, if not living vicariously?
Picking Up The Pieces is broadly a talk of two halves; the past and the present. The Forest and the discussion around it will explore coming to terms with childhood trauma and lessening the impact of it on day-to-day life. The short stories (Poison, The Monster, Prosecution, Defence, and Sentencing) and the accompanying discussion will explore the ongoing trauma of societal transphobia and how to exist in the face of this adversity.
Whilst traumatic events will not be discussed directly in Picking Up The Pieces, even talking around them may be triggering; as such there will be content warnings before any such event is touched on, no matter how lightly.
The topic of trauma is so often seen as unpleasant and depressing, but Picking Up The Pieces is far from that; it is a discussion centred on hope. It aims to show that while many who've been traumatised will carry it with them for the rest of their lives, they do still have lives worth living.
A recording of this event is available on the Trinity College YouTube channel
Eleanor (she/they) was born under a vastly different name just outside London in 1992. She grew up in Cornwall, for the most part, and has a deep affinity for the ocean. She read Chemistry at Trinity between 2010 and 2015. Eleanor came out as a non-binary transgender woman in the summer of 2014, after much soul-searching.
Whilst they have professionally worked in various scientific fields since 2015, she describes herself as having "the soul of an artist", with a passion for prose, poetry, sculpture, and painting. Their professional experiences include education, healthcare, and research and development. Eleanor practices Judaism, and is disabled; she walks with a walking stick due to chronic pain. They describe themselves as 'queer' and sit on the asexual spectrum. She is ethically non-monogamous. Eleanor is a drag artist, and performs under the name Ayn Randy.
Her published works include a novel, The Forest, and two anthologies of poetry and short stories, Hymns for the Gallows Volume One: The Trial and Volume Two: The Last Meal.