unch at the Fournets is just as I imagined it would be. Their apartment is tidy but stylish, colorful but understated. The two girls,…
Body of Work
“I hardly remember not hating my body. I got most of my seven arm tattoos when I was nineteen. I wanted to be able to look at my body and see something I didn’t loathe, that was part of my body by my choosing entirely. Really, that’s all I ever wanted,” explains Roxane Gay in Pen and Ink: Tattoos & the Stories Behind Them. Women’s bodies are constantly being dissected, reimagined, violated, or defined as a limitation, and this trauma – the violence of everyday life – becomes a part of their narratives.  This monthly column will examine the relationship between women writers and their bodies with a focus on both the internal – how these writers navigate their personal geographies of hopes, dreams, and insecurities –and the external: how they represent themselves and tell stories.
Essays in Body of Work will focus on how women redefine the narrative about their own perceived limitations. They will explore questions such as: to what extent are our bodies ever our own? How do the stories written on our flesh, such as tattoos and scars, inform our identity and storytelling? When are our bodies barriers to storytelling, and when do they get us access to untold stories?
This is a collaborative space for writers, photographers, multimedia storytellers, and women from different disciplines to share stories about their identities.
bought my first blue plaid flannel at K-Mart—it must have been 1987 or ’88, when I was a junior in high school in small-town…
When my oldest son is the size of an apple, my belly begins to push out against my overalls. It is late summer, and the monsoons have brought a week of night rain in the Arizona desert.
When I was 21 and working as a camp counselor, I was assigned to mentor a girl named Sylvie. “You both have epilepsy, see?” the camp director said. “It’ll be perfect.”
I first noticed the robin one day in early June, as she swiped dead stalks from one of the two potted lavender plants on our deck.
All weekend, I’ve been in bed, in the limbo land of the sick. It’s a space I know well, a territory I’ve occupied for periods of time throughout my adult life…
What comes out of my mouth is the cry a dog makes after being hit by a car, a shrill whimper.
Growing up in my parents’ seventies-era ranch house, my body was a misshapen thing. During playtime it became an imagined monster on the waterbed as my brothers hid inside a spaceship made out of my mother’s comforter.
While riding my university shuttle, I used to stare at women’s hair. They were mostly young white women like me, who would sit in rows facing each other at the front of the bus, compulsively checking their phones.
There are things I got wrong. I thought the reason my dad, a potter, so rarely repaired broken pots with real gold was because of money.
I am drawing at the kitchen table, tracing the outlines of a dinosaur, when I find that my hand, in defiance of the vision in my mind, makes a line that ruins the dinosaur. There will be no dinosaur. I begin to cry. My mom, who is a weaver and works from home, comes over to see what I am crying about.
I read eyes and gestures, scars and tattoos. I read gathering films of sweat, fleeting looks, the shift of weight and the movement of eyelashes.