Sometimes our stories are also our activism, our spirituality, our healing, our catharsis - as both writer and reader.
In the light of the recent decimation of Roe vs. Wade and what that will mean for the health and well-being of womxn and reproductive-bodied people across the United States I felt drawn into the fictional realm of storytelling.
Sometimes the implications of a moment is so big that nonfiction can't fully explore the impact of the moment. It has been a while since I have explored, publicly, fiction writing. For those of you that have known me for a while may know my work in the creative nonfiction realm through Mending Broken, Sacred Wounds or Going Naked. But I began my love for storytelling at a very young age through fiction-writing.
Before I could write I would weave stories together in my head at night, on the top-bunk of my childhood bedroom, writing myself to sleep. When I was old enough to form words on paper my first stories were fiction, building worlds and creating storylines - some which I would force my younger siblings to act out in the living room of my family home on hot summer days.
As my work in human story-listening through healing work became a more dominant part of my outer landscape it felt important to tell the stories that came from the lives I was seeing in front of me and write out the pain of the world in a way that aspired towards helping and healing, with the creativity of fiction, but the grounding of reality. That work felt important to me and important for that time - the past decade or so of my life.
Through this COVID-19 season of the world I have felt drawn back to fiction. Doodling story ideas, premises for characters, and possible world-building opportunities. Maybe it was the near-fictional nature of the world we are living in, almost a caricature of the world I grew up into and one in which the future held no semblance of certainty for what would be next.
Maybe because I have been visioning outside of the realm of fact, but into the space of truth beyond just fact. Into that space where fiction can do the magic of telling the essence of truth but on a landscape not yet fully written. And for some reason this past week hearing the calling from progressive legislators for the government to create space on federally protected lands for people to go for reproductive health services - a kind of safety zone of healthcare and healing - I began to think of a story built out of that small idea.
Out of that small nugget idea I started writing yesterday. I knew that I wanted to tell a story but not one that took months or years of writing and ended (at least at this moment) with a fully published book project. Rather, I wanted to write a story born out of this moment, one that might offer up something that might offer voice to the fears, and maybe, as it evolved, some kind of compassion towards the swirl of feelings so many of us are having now.
What my favorite fiction has done for me, as much as my favorite creative non-fiction or memoir, is offer me a chance to feel seen and known and heard. It has offered me a space to not be alone in my experience but find a kind of mirror to my own story in the story of another - real or imagined. If this process can do that for anyone it will be all I can ask.
Pachamama: A Mothering Earth Sanctuary (a serial story) on Medium (because that just seemed the easiest platform to host this process of storytelling) will be a series of chapters/parts telling the story through the eyes of one person into a possible future. It it is intended to honor the pain of the current reproductive trauma we are living in and envisioning a dystopian near-future which is also informed by a multi-diasporic Indigenous response - because I believe the future out of this mess is and will be a return to the ancestors and their knowing.
Part 2 and Part 3 will be coming in the week ahead. But for now you can go here to read Part 1: On the Road.