Read the chatscript of Victoria Loustalot’s February 26, 2014 session of  #litchat here.

When Victoria Loustalot, author of This Is How You Say Goodbye, was eight years old her father swept her up in a fantasy: a trip around the world. It was a grandiose plan and she had fallen for it. But it had never been so much as a possibility. Victoria’s father was sick. He was HIV positive and soon to fall prey to AIDS. Three years later he would be gone. 

When Victoria realized that the grand trip with her father wasn’t going to happen, she was devastated. Her mother assumed she’d get over it, that eventually it would become just a shrug. But it didn’t. In the years to come, Victoria wondered what it would have been like to have been alone with her dad all those months, to see him outside of his sickness, beyond anything related to their family or their life. To have been with him in a new context. That’s what she wanted. And that’s what she did.

This Is How You Say GoodbyeSome fifteen years after that initial promise, Victoria went to Stockholm, to Angkor Wat, and to Paris. She went to the places they were meant to see together, and she went to make peace with her father, too. Because while he’d always be forty-four, she’d gone on accumulating birthdays. Every year, her understanding of him continued to evolve and their relationship was still alive. Victoria Loustalot felt trapped beneath all of the unanswered questions he left behind. She needed to be set free. She needed to say goodbye. This Is How You Say Goodbye is the story of her journey.

Victoria Loustalot usually lives in New York City. But she’s currently avoiding winter by spending a few months in Los Angeles, Calif., her home state. She earned her B.A. in English from Columbia University in just three years and was subsequently awarded a fellowship to continue on at Columbia’s School of the Arts, earning her Master’s Degree in writing. She has taught writing as both a high school teacher and a Columbia University undergraduate writing professor. In addition to her new memoir, This Is How You Say Goodbye, she has written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Onion, Publishers Weekly, Women’s Wear Daily, Glamour, Elle, AOL, and NBC, among others.

Follow Victoria Loustalot on Twitter: @VLoustalot.