Month: October 2018

Book Review: Sandra Gail Lambert’s “A Certain Loneliness”

 by Annette Davis

In her touching memoir of life as a disabled lesbian, Sandra Gail Lambert probes the issue of what quality of life really means. Throughout the series of short essays, Lambert takes the reader on a journey from the author’s childhood, where we learn Lambert is stricken with polio, to an adult struggling to maintain her independence in the face of the disease that wracks her body with pain and limitations. In equal parts, the memoir is a story of self-love and the search for Lambert’s one true love—a life partner.

With fierce determination and unwavering mental strength, Lambert refuses to give up the activities and joys of her life. She describes her love of the water, from her days swimming in a pool as a child to her favorite pastime of kayaking on the Okefenokee Swamp and the Florida Bay in her adult years. Lambert explains all the contortions she goes through just to do daily activities as her body continues to fail her. In a particularly moving scene, she fights to keep close to the water, grappling with how to get in and out of the kayak from her wheelchair without help from others.

As Lambert ages, her physical limitations are explained in colorful detail. Lambert describes the accommodation she makes, from crutches to an electric wheelchair. She gains the reader’s sympathy as she reveals what being disabled truly means: the pain; the need for help to do basic things like bathe and open doors; the doubt, fear, and insecurity about the future. Lambert paints a clear picture of the decline in her health in juxtaposition to her fierce fight to maintain her mobility. With each setback her body inflicts on her, Lambert rebounds with a new strategy for navigating her life.

While surrounded by friends who see beyond Lambert’s limitations, her search for love still leaves her lonely. Her quest for a partner is marred by misunderstanding and misplaced values initially. But as the story advances, Lambert finds solace in single life as exemplified in the moment when she watches the sunrise alone as she paddles through the water. In this moment of joy, the reader knows that hope is not lost.

Lambert has a lyrical quality to her writing, describing the various rivers she navigates in her kayak with a visual crispness, transporting the reader to each place in a sensorial way.

Lambert’s memoir is a triumph of will over illness. She leaves the reader not pitying Lambert for her condition, but marveling at her indomitable spirit.

 

Annette Davis breathes words like air. A writer, teacher, and MFA candidate, she is also a proud mother to two amazing adults and two crazy cats.

Black Mirrors

By Liz Betz

Just for a split second I can picture my grossly overweight cousin. Perhaps he fell so that he ended like a large sack of potatoes draped over a small tractor moored in green—dead weight.

“What good he was doing is another thing,” Rachel says. “At least he managed to get the lawn mower turned off, before he died.”

I watch my crow Petey take off from the tree outside the window while I thirstily quaff water. There is a stack of wet dishes in the sink. It’s five in the afternoon and these are breakfast dishes, perhaps the only thing Rachel has done today. It feels like I’ve spent a million moments like this, waiting for some reason to endure.

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Age of Loneliness

BY: AUDRA LORD

This is an age of loneliness. This is what I’m thinking on the bus during my morning commute. I’m surrounded by a seawall of slack, blank faces, the impassive slate of cliffs. Nobody says a word; they just gaze into the cups of their palms, thirsty for plastic wisdom and blinky emoticons, which have mostly replaced emotions. Even liking something nowadays is a deliberate act.

Everyone is lost in the magic of tiny screens, wrapped in private thought bubbles, protected from the silence by noise-canceling earbuds, selecting the clatter of podcasts or the hum of iTunes over the warm body in the next seat. Their faces are still, but their fingers are industrious: it’s a factory of people engaged in the same repetitive swipes, clicks and taps, over and over and over again.

Aside from the tapping, nobody makes a sound.

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TCR Talks with Keithan Jones and Amber Tillman

BY:  A.M. Larks AND A.E. Santana

While many may think of comics as superhero-kid stuff, the comic book business is an immense global industry—reaching a huge and diverse audience. In 2017, North American sales totaled over $1 billion. Whether it’s a classic comic book or a graphic novel, the combination of words and images need to work in perfect harmony to tell a story.

What is the process of a harmonic collaboration between author and artist? TCR contributors A. E. Santana and A. M. Larks talk to both sides of this equation: creator and artist of “The Power Knights” and owner and founder of Kid Comics, Keithan Jones, and Amber Tillman, author and creator of Medicine Cabinet, about developing comics as either the artist or writer, and just how this harmony is achieved.

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