Twenty years ago, I edited Staring Back: The Disability Experience from the Inside Out, the first commercially published multi-genre anthology of writers with disabilities writing about disability. The anthology was published by Plume. In the introduction, I wrote: “Throughout history, people with disabilities have been stared out. Now, here in these pages — in literature of inventive form, at times harrowingly funny, at times provocatively wise — writers with disabilities affirm our lives by putting the world on notice that we are staring back.”
I walked away and sat trembling on the back step of an abandoned building on campus, embarrassed. Later, at home, still thinking about it and unable to shake the feeling of being somehow exposed to view, I made myself a cup of tea and ate a slice of buttered toast…
A college professor of mine, the indomitable Beth McCoy at Geneseo, liked to use the word “unpack.”
“Unpack that statement for us,” she’d say in class, meaning, Give us the meat. Tell us how you got there, what it means.
The entire play is built on this invisible structure of call and response. The call is the spoken word. The response is flesh. The word made flesh. It is tied to the Yoruban concept of Nommo, which loosely translated means: “speaking makes it so.” Nommo is also a Dogon word from Mali that refers to the power of words to create reality and build community. You will also find this idea in the book of Genesis.
There is a stack of summer books on the floor still to return to the library, that have reached their renewal limit, overdue.
This ain’t the Ivy League, there’s no huge endowment here, but there’s no slaveholders either.
I was at a Springsteen concert recently. One of his most famous songs — Hungry Heart — usually leads to him falling back onto the audience.
I’ve long thought that the two most difficult parts of writing are sitting down and standing up. The reasons for the difficulty-in-getting-yourself-to-sit-down-to-write part are myriad, as anyone who has ever tried to write can attest. The standing-up part, though, might
Name: The Institute for the Appreciation of Beauty in Ordinary Things
Founder: Elena Georgiou
Mission: To build an Arsenal of Beauty to use in the War on Ugly.
Funded by: Crowdsourced with donations of beauty and power by the General Public*
The link between a sense of purpose, the military, absent fathers, religious fundamentalism, and even prison, seems to me to be a sort of human need for authority…
The ReMix begins: 2004 draft cuts: (in parens)– 2017 adds: IN CAPS:
After the election, I saw and felt a frozenness–I NEEDED (wanted) poetry (to arrive and speak to me–) to convert (a tableau of different shades of) dread to (a weave of) courage and CUT A PATH TO transformation. TO ROAR. I wanted something to take AND SPEAK the pain, (naturally). And poetry can hold IT (every complex yearning).
“I don’t know where to begin because I have nothing to say…”
is the opening line from an essay by the poet, Mary Reufle, called “Madness, Rack, and Honey” which meditates, among other things, on metaphors, an ad for a Coach bag, the correlation between suicide and literacy, and wasting time. It’s a good read.
Moving back to London requires minimal adjustment, it’s as easy (as a writer once said about revision, compared to first draft composing) as sliding into a bath of warm oatmeal. No culture shock save for the first instant of wondering why dogs and babies are driving cars; all you have to do is exercise a little preliminary caution crossing the street and you’re done. Or maybe some mild culture shock, over here in the Land of Other People’s Problems, to learn exactly what the tabloid media judges important. “Horror on No. 77!” shrieks the top headline in the Evening Standard, the free newspaper everyone reads on the Tube going home after work.
This week, following the U.S. President’s pro-white nationalist tantrum before the press in the wake of the Charlottesville terrorist attack (remarkably deemed as such by Attorney General Jeff Sessions), it seems that we are witnessing a regression of a whole different order of magnitude.
How are you, my fellow writer? This past spring, at my annual physical exam, I was given a questionnaire I was to fill and hand to the nurse before proceeding to the doctor’s office. I have been with the same practitioners since 2009, and this was the first time they asked about my emotional well-being.