Rumpus contributor Melissa Chadburn has a new essay at over at Buzzfeed. In it she talks about how Joyce Carol Oates’s The Wonderland Quartet provided her with the counter-narrative she needed to face the world.
For me — a woman, and a lesbian to boot — the books represented a kind of literary oasis. I am not a feeble person; in fact, to the contrary, I come from sturdy stubborn stock. My people are short and round and brown, they know how to survive on little. They can break shit and build shit and smoke all kinds of shit. Yet, despite our thick, staunch skin, even the smallest trace of moral suffering can destroy me. I can make tuberculosis, malnutrition, lice, anemia, scabies, addiction, and any other poor woman’s disease my bitch — but the raw realities of ethical and economic disparities have my throat, my pen, my heart twisted in their grip.
This is such a powerful essay and needs to be at the top of your list of reading today.