I spent hours alone by necessity, whether hitching on a roadside or riding a bus or wandering the streets of new cities as alien to me as I was to them.
And as alien as the inside of my head, until I learned the lay of it. In The Guardian recently, Jennifer Egan said of her own teenage backpacking experience ,. That feeling of waiting in line, paying for the phone and then not only having no one answer, but not being able to leave a message so that they would never know you called.
Because it was extreme. And that kind of extreme isolation showed me that I wanted to be a writer. She goes on to describe the panic attacks and fear isolation brought on, and as I read I remembered a day spent hiking in Cornwall, of hours in the forest then emerging into a village in front of a pub. There were families heads-down over maps, a cricket team warming up on the green, two old men in identical gum boots and waxed canvas coats stopped to chat; ordinary lives going on in everyday ways, in other words, and there was me, ragged and woolly and stepping out of the woods where no one knew me from the Beast of Bodmin.
I could have turned around and disappeared into the trees without being noticed, like another anonymous hiker whose body had recently turned up in the moors and was all over the news. There was no one to tell about the midnight train ride to Belfast when a brick smashed through the window over my head after a group of boys had already been hauled off by armored Garda for lighting strings of firecrackers at the end of the carriage.
About a party with an Australian MP that, had phones been smarter and had there been a place to post photos, would have gotten us both into trouble, and camping by a desert hot spring the night of an Aboriginal corroboree then observing for as long as I was allowed to an outdoor meeting with a government minister the following day.
Only I knew about watching and watching and watching an enormous brown snail crawl across my ground sheet when I woke by the Tasman Sea at sunrise, and standing with a German football team on a Galway street corner, each of us holding a lead-plugged axe handle, because a group of thugs had attacked and robbed the hostel warden the night before and were amassing again up the street. Besides, the whole notion of leaving home at 18 is so ethnocentric, a global rarity arrogantly normalized by a relatively small, relatively affluent part of the world.
He can see the big, shallow dip in the land that is Taylor, with the LM resting at its centre like a toy in the palm of some huge hand. The first sign that anything is wrong is when the satellite is out. We went through it and we agreed one of the passages still sounded a bit awkward. Side by side, they bound over the Moon. Look, just make your way to the plane over there.
When I moved to town, there were a few weeks at the start of sixth grade when the whole team had me confused with that other kid, a few weeks in which I was not only the new kid but a different new kid, a double disorientation. Not by having them pass into the collective memory of the people who know us and the stories that get swapped around campfires and dining room tables for so long it stops mattering who they happened to, but by tucking them away like a tweet left untweeted, in some private corner where characters of pithy distillation might grow into something much more.
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I love this article. Your email address will not be published. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. I can no longer remember his name, but he was an affable guy. I nodded. I agreed that yes, he did sort of look Cuban, but I asked him if he was really certain that this was the most logical way to go about getting a green card.
He was. Not even a green card: citizenship. An American passport.
You know how hard it is to get a green card as a Canadian? Yes, I said, I knew all about it. My latte arrived and I carefully emptied four packets of sugar into it. He opened the top of his backpack; the kitten that he carried everywhere with him stirred sleepily in the canvas shadows. I hold citizenship in both countries. Either in the history of its nation we can call this the small context , or else in the supranational history of its art the large context. We are accustomed to seeing music quite naturally in the large context: knowing what language Orlando de Lassus or Bach spoke matters little to a musicologist, but because a novel is bound up with its language, in nearly every university in the world it is studied almost exclusively in the small, national context.
Being an illegal alien means living in a twilight kind of place, a much more perilous city than the legal citizens of New York inhabit, a shadow country where paranoia and real risk bleed together until you start to think that any mistake might lead to exile. The US Consulate in Montreal is a forbidding godawful place, as places concerned with the protection of borders always are: a windowless tower way downtown with airport-level security measures and an elevator that makes no stops between the basement and the 19th floor. The first time I went there, I collected a stack of forms.
Something slightly accusatory. An intimation that getting into her country was supposed to be harder than this. I want to read the greatest writers, period. I want to read a really, really good novel, but only if it was written by an Australian. Or do we say, if not to the bookseller than perhaps to ourselves, moving between shelves and tables and picking up books and reading the first few paragraphs, looking at the cover art, I want to read something that changes the way I see the world.
I want to be captivated. I want to read something that moves me. I want to read something true. I like to believe that in the year , when I started to write my first novel, The Revolutionaries Try Again , I approached English, my second language, as a system that, through minor detonations of syntax, could be restructured to accommodate my preoccupations. Constraining the use of conjunctions to contort sentences? Blanking parentheticals after writing them no seas curiosa Jessica and then trying to write about their potential content to dramatize blanks in memory?
Did not. At my Jesuit high school in Guayaquil, Ecuador, I belonged to a volunteer group known as the apostolic group. A cynic like me might contend that, since the hospice experience fits into the coming of age narrative boy visits the old and the infirm, hands them bread and milk, realizes the world contains unspeakable suffering, etc. The contention of the cynic still me faces complications. How to write about mostly blanks? Not everything in chance is chance, John Cage said. The first two came to mind because of their religious associations the cover of my edition of The Book of Disquiet contains a man in agony, though later someone pointed out the man is just a goalie failing to catch a soccer ball.
The next day I completed three more. Only the first two cycles yielded immediate reactions. The reactions to the passages below are from , the reactions to my reactions from Reaction: What did the elderly think of us? Were they really waiting for us on that long hallway? Or were they always there in the afternoons? Where else would they go? None of them had their own room. Reaction: Did I wonder who the elderly were as I am doing now?
Who were they when they were young? Reaction to reaction: I can see now why I might have found this passage about turning away compelling. To imagine the old and the infirm turning away from me felt like the correct representation of them. This pious retrospective, the cynic you know who might add, is useless. The rest of the cycles did not yield enough variations in the material. Asleep, I was even more helpless against them, Lydia Davis wrote, and yes, I was helpless against the memory of old and the infirm, whether I was asleep or awake, but how to represent this helplessness without overdramatizing the minute impact of this helplessness?
Perhaps I did not ask the right question. God has strong opinions on reproductive rights, at least according to many Americans. House of Representatives. As governor of Indiana, he defunded Planned Parenthood and signed multiple anti-abortion bills into law, including measures to prohibit private insurers from covering abortions, and one of the most extreme anti-abortion bills in the country.
Religion plays a central role in all of them. Lilli de Jong is informed, but not overwhelmed, by research. From the opening inscription — an report of the State Hospital for Women and Infants — the reader confronts injustice. Lilli questions whether her successive punishments at the hands of those around her fit the crime. Loosely based on the real physician and abortion provider Ann Trow Lohman , Axie has a wicked sense of humor and the feistiness to stand up to law enforcement and the rest of the male establishment.
After surviving two earlier attempts on his life, Tiller was fatally shot while ushering at his church in Wichita, Kan. Nineteenth-century prosecutors pursued Ann Trow Lohman for close to 40 years. Rather than face long years in prison, Lohman slit her throat.
The white girls ended up in trouble as often as us colored girls. But at least we had the decency to keep our troubles. In other words, abortions are for white girls who lack the fortitude to see things through. Abortions — access to reproductive healthcare generally — have historically been a luxury more accessible to white girls. Luke Sheppard seems like a nice guy, but after he stands Nadia up at the abortion clinic, their lives diverge.