A body is neutral, objective, a fact—no more meant to be interpreted than a rock or a car. Different bodies shouldn’t mean different things, and yet. Other people have different interpretations of my husband’s body: its intent, threat, capabilities, worth.
“You don’t need an MFA to be a good writer, but you need readers who understand what you are trying to do, and won’t let you get away with not doing that.”
Such images, alien to our suburban lives, along with her shifts into mixed Spanish and English, revealed how much my grandmother still lived in that other place. She denied wanting ever to return to Spain but followed news from her native country with keen interest, eager for the demise of the Franco dictatorship, an event she lived long enough to celebrate.
The friendship is both tender and antagonistic, deeply intimate and full of spite, and Elena reflects on the difficulty of telling her own story without Lila in it. There is Lila’s story and there is Elena’s story, but Elena realizes the two are inextricable.
In 1901, a woman threw herself over Niagara Falls in a barrel. She was the first to survive this trip, which she had executed specifically for fame and fortune, though she earned more of the former than the latter. Despite world-wide headlines and a number of speaking engagements, she remained poor, hawking photo-ops and signatures to tourists. She also wrote a novel about the experience.