Follow the link below to hear an interview with me conducted by Don Wooten, in the seventh decade of his broadcasting career, and Roald Tweet, Augustana College professor emeritus, at NPR affiliate WVIK on June 27, 2019:
On June 27that 7 pm I delivered an address–“The Mission of Writing”–in conjunction with the David R. Collins Writers’ Conference in Davenport, Iowa.
The venue was the Figge Art Museum at 225 West 2nd Street.
Here I am with my generous hosts Ryan Collins (Midwest Writing Center Executive Director) and Susan Collins (Midwest Writing Center Board Member)
Here I’m blessed with the company of Jodie Toohey (standing: Midwest Writing Center President), Rochelle Murray (seated: the resilient librarian who fulfilled my odd request for Aaron Copland’s home address when I was ten years old) and Dick Stahl (seated: a poet who attended Writers’ Studio when I did in the late 1970s and early 1980s)
To learn more above the lead-up to the event, follow the link below:
In solidarity with the compelling testimony of Dr. Blasey Ford before the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 27, 2018, I reprint below crucial sentences from River Bend Chronicle (page 12) detailing the specifics of sexual assaults I experienced in the 1970s beginning at the age of nine. The attacker was my mother, a lawyer. Forty years had to pass before I was able to write these words.
I had only rarely rebuffed her inappropriate touching in the dark upstairs bedroom as she talked about her marital problems and the famous murders she had read of, and described—in the most bizarre twist, while kneading the balls of my feet or applying salve to my buttocks—the various ways that a child could fend off an attack, either by being perfectly quiet and still (like the student nurse who had hid under the dorm bunk during the Speck massacre in Chicago) or by screaming and pissing and all else. On my tummy, spread-eagled, I chose the former. I listened to the leaves rustling outside the window and to her voice inside, also rustling. She requested permission before every infraction—“Can I rub…can I put on…?”—and I complied. She asked with such need and desperation that I sympathized with her more than myself. Her hurting me became me helping her, being with her in her darkest moments, or trying to be there—as the voice telling me what to do were I attacked was at least a hundred miles from the hands doing the squeezing. In those mad moments she offered her oldest son the mad choice either to believe in her as a protector or revile her as an enemy, and if I knew the best choice (I could not afford to lose a parent—not then!) and tried to make it, I also knew the truth.