Friday, July 28, 2023

Q&A with Rebecca Dimyan



Rebecca Dimyan is the author of the new memoir Chronic. It focuses on her experiences with chronic illness and holistic healing. She teaches college writing in Connecticut. 


Q: What inspired you to write Chronic, and how was the book’s title chosen?


A: The book began as a series of shorter pieces published in various online publications. There was such a strong response to these essays—women reaching out to me with their own stories, experiences, and questions—that I felt I needed to write Chronic.


I wanted something concise, catchy, and comprehensive for the title. I felt that Chronic captured the essence of my experiences and would also appeal to others suffering from chronic conditions.


While this book is specifically about my experience with endometriosis, I feel that anyone who has suffered from chronic illness or loved someone who has suffered will relate to this book.


Q: The writer Sonya Huber said of the book, “With research, perspective, humor, compassion, and emotional insight, Dimyan explores the tracks that endometriosis leaves on her body, life experiences, and her spirit, offering an essential addition to the literature of women's pain.” What do you think of that description?


A: I am absolutely honored by this description. I adore Sonya Huber, a writer and teacher whose work I have admired and respected for years. I am grateful to her for the high praise and so happy that she felt that I accomplished these things.


Writing this book honestly felt like ripping my heart open and spilling it onto the page, so to have it received so well by someone I think so much of is the ultimate compliment.


Q: How did you research the book, and did you learn anything that especially surprised you?


A: I read many articles, interviewed experts, and listened to the women willing to share their stories and experiences with me. I spent a lot of time in online support groups as well.


Although I knew that 1 in 10 women suffer from endometriosis going into my research, it became a much more tangible idea when almost every single person I spoke with was impacted in some way by endo.


Q: In your Author’s Note, you write, “Let me begin with a confession: I never wanted to write this book.” What impact did it have on you to write the book, and what do you hope others take away from it?


A: It was (and still is) terrifying to share so much of myself with the world. I wanted to leave out the messy, unflattering bits, but I quickly realized I needed to tell the whole story—all of it. It is liberating in a strange sense to have it all out there, but I’m still very anxious about it.


I hope that others feel like they are not alone in their experiences. I hope people find comfort and, I suppose, a new friend.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I have my debut novel coming out in three months! Waiting for Beirut (Running Wild Press), set in early 1950s Lebanon and Connecticut, is a story of forbidden love and broken dreams. It was inspired by family history, and I spent 11 years researching and writing it.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: I am also an editor and adjunct professor. I teach college writing courses at two universities in Connecticut, and I love it as much as I love writing! :) 


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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