What “invisible borders” do you seek to address and cross in your writing, and why?

I’ve finished my interview for “Santa Fe Literary Review” which will be in the 2016 issue. Questions came from student staff. “Invisible Borders” is the theme of the forthcoming issue.

What “invisible borders” do you seek to address and cross in your writing, and why? How do you do this?
I’ve been obsessed with borders most of my life. I grew up in northern New Jersey where the border was between us and the glittering city of Manhattan across the Hudson River. Having lived in New Mexico for thirty years, I’m hyper aware of the border between the US and Mexico and what it means to cross. That border is visible, but invisible too. My grandparents were immigrants who didn’t speak English when they came to this country-—more borders.
Physical boundaries are a huge theme in my writing, even if it’s just how my westside neighborhood was re-defined by putting St. Francis through it decades ago. More personally, women’s experience is still hidden from view, even now. I like to cross that invisible border and bring it into the light. The same with disability—in my case a so-called “invisible disability” although all I need to do is use a cane to make it visible.
The greatest border, for me, is between silence and words. So much of human life is hidden in shame or fear, insecurity, or just plain silence. Words—poetry, fiction, memoir, and more—give life to what is hidden, silenced. I like to cross that border daily—and move from the repressed into the expressed—for myself, and with others.

2 thoughts on “What “invisible borders” do you seek to address and cross in your writing, and why?

  1. That’s a great question! I don’t often think in those terms precisely, but so much of what I do and care about is certainly about borders …

    The border between human and non-human, the border between male and female, the border between memory and story. Even the border between past and future …sitting with pen on paper or fingers on keys it is never either, and yet we spend so much of our time invested in one or the other. The border between the world we see and the world just beyond that ….

    And yes, that border between what is silent inside of us, whether because of shame and fear, or because trauma has closed it off to our conscious minds, and what we are and say and write in the daylight world.

  2. This really resonates with me, too. I’ve been writing about crossing religious borders for the Cape Verdeans I’m researching, whose ancestors crossed the border from Judaism to Catholicism, and some of them are today re-crossing that border in the opposite direction. I think the concept of “borders” is so resonant with so many of us, on so many different levels!

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