Sarah Abigail Adleman, University of Texas at El Paso


When I was sixteen, my mother was killed one evening while running on the bayou behind our house in Houston. The man, who is now on Death Row in Texas, beat, raped, and then strangled her to death.Writer Mary Cappello says of Creative Nonfiction, “to compose discursively requires that we turn in the direction of the discourses that have made us who we are rather than start from a place of what we think happened to us in the course of our lives.” She goes on further to say, “Creative nonfiction appreciates the power of prepositions. Instead of writing about, as in, “what is your book about?”, it writes from. Or nearby, toward, under, around, through, and so on.” With the Nonfiction research of neurons and how memories are stored in the brain, trains, pigments, and the death penalty, Echoes explores the process of moving through grief. Over the course of writing this manuscript, I began to realize the humanhood of the man who has been on Death Row for 18 years. The reality of his existence. I decided to write him a letter. This is where Echoes begins. Eric Kandel explains how a neuron fires is like one person speaking into the ear of another. In three parts: the lips that speak, the space between, and the ears that hear. Before she died, my mother spoke the words, “I forgive you, and God does too” to the man who would ultimately take her life. The echoes of her words reverberate through the pages as memory, but also begs the wonder of forgiveness. What is it? How do we get there?

Subject Area

Creative writing|Neurosciences|Criminology

Recommended Citation

Adleman, Sarah Abigail, "Echoes" (2016). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10124885.