Guest Writing for Betsy Warland’s Oscar Salon

July 12, 2013

Here’s the link to our paired writings.

I am just now trying to articulate the links between Betsy’s piece and mine. Betsy’s explores the tension between the collective and the individual, a tension which embodies the life-threatening question of membership in the group. Life-threatening because for our thin-skinned, small-toothed, unclawed species, survival depends on membership in the group. We die if we are alone. Betsy’s exploration of the in-locus in-body experience of camouflage, the fluidity of being, infiltration and uncertain membership amid deeper kinships evoked deep fellow feeling in me.

The excerpt I chose shows my protagonist, Allen Quincy, wrestling with the defenselessness of the dead, and his deep discomfort with his ability to further assault the memory of their deaths by writing about it. This is the passage where he converts his intention to expose the memories publicly in order to release himself from their painful hold over him into protecting and guarding them in the intimate, private space of his brain. A conversion to love over survival. Both are about power and the psychological tension it elicits, about strategies to engage and subvert that power and about the human feeling of the individual butting up against it.

Thanks to Betsy Warland for inviting us to engage with her new work, Oscar of Between.