So, this week I wrote my first reader comment in The New York Times in response to a ridiculous comment on Roxane Gay’s Op-Ed, “Dear Men: It’s You, Too.” This is the beginning of her essay—with the reader comments below. R made this merge of two screenshots his Instagram pic of the day on 10/19/17, and I’m reposting it here.
Besides reading Gay’s Op-Ed, this week, I also read a thoughtful column in The Kenyon Review Blog as I spent way too much time on the internet, trying to make some sense of these last two weeks—all the stories in the NYT about Harvey Weinstein and sexual harassment and rape. And then so many other accounts from so many women. And then Twitter.
I had brought with me to this residency both stories (my fiction manuscript) and essays (nonfiction manuscript) to revisit and revise. I started to think about why I had not written about some experiences in nonfiction, and had only written about those subjects obliquely, in fiction. Caroline Hagood‘s column, “Me Too and the Trauma Narrative,” got to the heart of this for me:
The logic of trauma is epic and for me it has always seemed to demand a certain encoding to guard safety. Maybe this is why I’m not a memoirist. I never like to talk about what happened to me head-on.
It’s something I can only show you sideways, tilted at an angle that makes it hard to identify but familiar still. I can only fictionalize all through the night and then get on the subway to my morning life….
Read the rest of Hagood’s essay in The Kenyon Review Blog here.
I served as biweekly columnist for the The Kenyon Review in 2016, and one of my columns also dealt with the subject of trauma. I am interested in beginning to tackle some of what I’ve written about in fiction perhaps now in nonfiction. This is new ground for me. But if not now, then when?***
***Update: I published this short essay about grad school in The Rumpus in November (scroll to second piece). #metoo