After the Flashlight Man
Purdue University Press
One night in 1990, a stranger cut the screen out of Nancy McCabe's bedroom window while she slept and shone a flashlight into her eyes as she woke. A few weeks later, her father came down with temporary amnesia. Although unrelated, these events became linked in her mind, sweeping out from under her the fundamentals many of us take for granted: safety, freedom, the stability of memory, and a general oblivion to mortality. After the Flashlight Man is the story of how one author came to terms with these experiences that threw her life into a whole new light: the self-defense classes, rape crisis volunteer work, writing, and meditation that served as checkpoints along her healing journey while she reexamined events from her childhood and relationships with family and friends. Ultimately, a flashlight turned against her as a bizarre weapon instead became a metaphorical tool that blazed her path; gave her the impetus to reclaim, recast, and tell her own stories, and discover her own power to reinvent her vision of her life.
Nancy McCabe's creative nonfiction has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Fourth Genre, Massachusetts Review, and Puerto del Sol, among others. Her work has received a Pushcart Prize and been cited twice by Best American Essays. She teaches writing at the University of Pittsburgh in Bradford, PA, where she lives with her daughter.