When the local florist, calls while you are in the bath to say they have hidden something behind your porch chair.... You discover a message from your beloved daughter.
By day, I count the inequities now underscored and bathed in broad daylight by pandemic effects. The youth with no future. The aged warehoused in dead zones. The mothers whose workday suddenly expands with childcare, teaching, and at-home paid labour. For instance, in my old haunt - the university, academic women’s publications have fallen off precipitously since COVID-19 appeared. The pandemic operates like a magnifying glass of injustices. ...Once I went for walks in the ravine. Now I listen to the rain from underneath the covers. The monsoon that is late May and sometimes June promises to go on through the summer. My psychic drama.
Two things are happening simultaneously. A propellor whirls. My being is moving in two directions. My body is twinned in two places at once. The present tense and my long ago past collide every morning. I am in 2020 Oaxaca City, Mexico City. And in my great grandmother’s nineteenth-century English home.
I wanted to put presence into absence. I was very frustrated that black British women weren’t visible in literature. I whittled it down to 12 characters – I wanted them to span from a teenager to someone in their 90s, and see their trajectory from birth, though not linear. There are many ways in which… Continue reading “to put presence into absence”: on the occasion of the 2019 Booker Prize Awarded to Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo