This novella – still in progress – follows a narrator in pursuit of a missing mother, and begins with this origin story: "Our two mountains were once two women: one old and one young. Hand in hand, they walked the earth, searching for death but never finding it."
The first year of this PhD program has ended — so I suppose I'm some fraction of an anthropologist now. As I return to the world beyond the classroom, I'm thinking about friendship, and how to sustain the life of a friendship.
Today I'm reading this exchange of letters between Ada Limón and Natalie Diaz. How exquisite it is to write through mail, through poetry, and through the texture of intimacy.
Last week, I presented a paper at the Anthropology and Literature Workshop at Johns Hopkins University. It was my first time writing through (and sharing) a recent experience of genetic diagnosis. Check out a version of the piece up at Medical and Health Humanities.
"We leave the Genetics Department and walk slowly through the hospital, winding our way through the corridors. We look around as if we are searching for something, or on our way to visit a family member. It is early March, and through the windows, the sun slants onto prints inspired by genetic concepts."
Death and my body do not forget. In this country, as an imposed feature of this country and its untenable power, death echoes loudly for those willing to recognize the sound. My death knows the quiet. My body knows the difference between ruckus and noise. My body knows there is not one violent summer or spring, but all the seasons are bloody. There is not one borderland or one Martin Luther King Jr. Street. But there are a thousand courtrooms and jailhouses and detention centers and police stations and TV sets in nice homes, and fired FBI chiefs and lobbyists for the NRA and Democrats and Republicans who we are all supposed to trust. There are thousands of people who relish a legal system that is anything but just.
And then: then there is me. Whispering to both life and death: know me, know me and carve a world in this knowledge, know me well—both of you—so we can all get free.