I wrote my first comment in The New York Times this week as a response to a misogynistic comment on Roxane Gay’s Op-Ed, “Dear Men: It’s You, Too.” I’m so thankful for her words.
Besides reading Roxane 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 about Harvey Weinstein and sexual harassment and rape. And then so many other accounts from so many women. 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 am interested in beginning to tackle some of what I’ve written about in fiction now perhaps in nonfiction. This is new ground for me. But if not now, then when?
Where I am this month: the Anderson Center at Tower View, an artist residency in Red Wing, Minnesota. I’m writing and revising, and trying to get out of my way to work.
So here’s something my friend Geeta wrote recently about time, grief, and writing that resonated with me:
One day, around the time my parents died, I finally understood that time isn’t an infinite, renewable resource. After the grief, came the despair. I added up all the wasted hours. So many, with people I didn’t like doing things I didn’t care about. Of course, I couldn’t actually add up all my wasted hours because I never kept track of them. This was a period when I didn’t keep a journal or a schedule on paper. Even when I began writing seriously, I paid little attention to how I used my time. I measured my progress by how many pages I filled, how many drafts I wrote, publications. This last item seems a little insane now because rejections for my stories far outnumbered acceptances (and still do)…
I don’t want to live the rest of my life regretting things. You don’t either. Geeta makes a good case for how to spend your time on what counts (if writing deeply and daily counts to you). You can read the rest of her essay / blog post here…