Thank You

It’s a gift to be in the space with you, to read your words, to ramble over the silence, to insist on speaking impossible things in fear and trembling. (A few more readings below for later, just in case you need more.) Thank you so much for writing, for leaving the door cracked, for sitting with me near the moon and howling a little, howling and trying to find words to carry night.

Anne Boyer’s essay “The Heavy Air” uses the lyrical shape and tone of poetry to explore the shared grief of air pollution, the alienation of life under capitalism where what is “common” to use all has been erased by the lifestyle that sets up apart from others through status. Read it to see how clouds, mythology, poetry, poetics, grief, and community can be woven together through lists which expand and broaden the stake of the essay; read it for the immaculate shifts in syntax and the heaviness it induces in the reader.

Catherine Lacey’s short story “ur heck box” features a narrator who doesn’t agree to marry a boy and then he dies, leaving her with the question of whether she could have saved him. Lacey’s narrator wants to do “something inappropriate, something dangerous” after her brother dies. But the only thing that comes to mind is not getting off the train at her usual stop, not stepping into the regularity of her days, not showing up for life. Instead, the narrator does nothing and discovers “nothing had changed”–even doing nothing is different. Grief’s nothing is packed full of absence and memorabilia and quaint mimetic triggers. Her brother’s death isn’t transformative in a personal sense; the narrator is not wiser or more patient. She becomes the same person, only with the tendency to appendage small talk with the statement that Rae is dead. In a sense, Rae’s death becomes the explanatory purpose for nothing. And: “All lives disappear one way or another….”