I take a day away from the internet mostly. I take another. For long stretches I think about the garden or fiction or kids or cleaning, and almost feel like myself again. Then I glance at the news and I’m drowning. It’s no single thing. It’s dancing at a club, and putting my kindergartner on a bus the morning after, it’s months working the queer anti-violence hotline, listening to the suicidal, asking them to please just not kill themselves tonight, promise me that much. It’s black mothers raising black sons right next to my child (who can pass for white), the quiet terror in their eyes when the news reports yet another and another and another. Wrong place, wrong time, pissed off the wrong person by breathing. It’s my hijabi students crossing campus the morning after the marathon, the way some of them are quiet until a few weeks into each semester, until they realize I will treat them just the same as any other students – I try. What did it cost the Christians to wear their cross, back in the day? The dark currents of history are strong and deep, will drag us under. What do we have to put up against that sodden despair – a garden, a story, lunches made for the children, kisses given and gathered, before they run to play? It’s not enough, not enough to change anything. Maybe enough to get me through the worst days, though, so I can catch a breath, find my stroke again. Come back fighting.
Bio: "Mary Anne Mohanraj is the author of Bodies in Motion (HarperCollins), The Stars Change (Circlet Press) and ten other titles. Bodies in Motion was a finalist for the Asian American Book Awards, a USA Today Notable Book, and has been translated into six languages. Mohanraj founded the Hugo-nominated magazine, Strange Horizons, and serves as editor-in-chief of Jaggery, a South Asian literary journal (jaggerylit.com). She received a Breaking Barriers Award from the Chicago Foundation for Women for her work in Asian American arts organizing, won an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Prose, and was Guest of Honor at WisCon. Mohanraj is Clinical Associate Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and lives in a creaky old Victorian in Oak Park, just outside Chicago, with her husband, their two small children, and a sweet dog. http://www.maryannemohanraj.com