Friday, March 15, 2013

The silent memory of blood


I finished Love Medicine at 1:30 this afternoon and gasped great sobbing tears for the next half hour. Few books have effected me like this. Grapes of Wrath, Poisonwood Bible—I believe that is all. 

This last week I have been overcome by stunned disbelief at the similarities between the book and my family's history, Grandmother Josie and my 1/64th Ojibwe heritage (milked mostly white by the North Europeans that mixed with it), and my own attempt to right the turbulence of the emotional ocean currents that argue for wildness against what scraps of reason I have salvaged from unknown sources. 

I see my marriages in this book, my illness, my addictions, my children, my parents, my grandparents, circles and circles and circles that are the Ojibwe tradition. I also find hope, even if it is invisible from where I stand on the road.

The plan is that my Lit by Women class will discuss this book for at least a week when I return. I don't know if I will be capable of participation. These stories and themes lie just beneath the skin, if not gasping for breath at the surface. The tears I cried for half an hour this afternoon aren't dried up. They stopped because the blood needs time for silence, to absorb truth, to adjust. The salt has to build up again to carry the pain of generations from the current's source to the shore of acceptance and understanding at the water's edge.

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