mining resistance

Question 8 for the DIY MFA Street Team–Resistance is your compass:

This week’s prompt is all about resistance. Share an example of a time when resistance has pointed you toward a writing project that was juicy and high-stakes… and maybe even a little bit scary. Did you face that fear and overcome your resistance? What was the result of pursuing (or not pursuing) that project?

I never finished a review article of an academic piece of writing because the topic was on animal rights, and I could not stomach the research on animal butchery. I have always regretted my cowardice–and that’s how I view my inability to keep writing, as cowardice.

In an interview about her novel, Beloved, Toni Morrison claims that artists are the priests of history–they are the ones who perform cleansing rituals. Beloved writes the unspeakeable-ness of slavery. When words cannot be found, that’s precisely when writers must practice.

Another subject I avoid is my mom’s dementia. So much of her dementia involves her loss of language. And the way I work with that resistance is to shift my perspective: She has lost language, and she works language in a very new kind of poetry.

I don’t have a lot of helpful experience here, but I know that uncovering resistance is the first step. I usually don’t know I’m resisting something until someone else points out my resistance. I learned I was resisting writing about my mom’s dementia during one of my writing classes, when I asked students for ideas for blog postings.


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