outwait outrun outwit


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Writing a lot of stories. Or, rather, a lot of beginnings, a houseful of babies gasping for breath. Gestation is lately novel, for many months have passed since I last wrote a story.

Reading was also difficult, too, since it required commitment during my hungriest time ever. Slowly: Elie Wiesel's harrowing Night; Margaret Atwood's The Edible Woman (a decent, if perplexing read); Zadie Smith's wild, wildly amazing White Teeth; and lately, Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible, which successfully employed the narrative of a father's tyrannical and self-righteous control over his family's destiny as a trope for Western hegemony over colonial and post-colonial Africa.

I almost started Anil's Ghost, a novel by Michael Ondaatje, but this folded map tucked inside my used edition from the public library bookstore got me thinking about cartography proper, and then cartographies, of desire, of fear. When and where and why we do draw these lines between bodies and nations and histories? Then I imagined her: Nina, riding the handlebars of her best friend's bike, who may or may not be thinking about boys, maybe one in particular, who is not doing what young boys in American suburbs do: cradling the head of his mother as she, a human rights lawyer, narrates wearily, the story of a young man lying dead in a faraway land, an ill-hidden secret, a bloody smear of history. For him is so soon the loss of innocence, the knowledge of living day-to-day without sanctuary.


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