I somehow missed this shout out about some of my work by TAB journal in March. The Body Lives Its Undoing, a book of poems (by me) and visual art by others, is still available. All proceeds go to The Benaroya Research Institute.
After reading poems from “The Body Lives Its Undoing”, and presentations by collaborators at Town Hall on Wednesday, September 18th, I opened up the conversation to the audience. The questions were penetrating and while I did my best in the moment to respond, later that night I had further thoughts that I want to share.
A difficult question was posed by someone living with an autoimmune disease; she asked how to deal with hope, specifically, how to keep up hope when one is in pain and seemingly closer to despair. At the time I answered by recalling my struggles with pain and despair as a parent of a child with an autoimmune disease who, when in the thick of her treatment I had no knowledge of whether she’d get better, I also despaired. I fell off “the Hope wagon” often. And I came to think this was going to be a wild roller coaster ride and the resulting stress might sicken me in some way too.
On a sunny Saturday morning in Burien, WA, about 20 residents of Merrill Gardens, along with a half dozen more friends, gathered to hear me read poems and discuss the project upon which my recent book, The Body Lives Its Undoing, is based.
They were attentive listeners and asked great questions about the poems and about autoimmune disease in general. One question was about the difference between infections and autoimmune disease. Another person was curious if there were any “bright spots” that emerged from people living with pain. I said I heard often about people letting go of things that no longer seemed important and learning to live in, and celebrate each moment.
We also showcased some of the artwork and Anna Hooser, artist, book designer and BRI Tech Assistant, was also on hand to talk about how her artwork was a reflection of the interviews I conducted and which she videotaped.
Optimism Brewing, 1158 Broadway, Capitol Hill (come early to get a seat)
4:30 – 6:30 pm