Split Self: Essun’s Identities (And My Own Procrastination)

Brain freeze.  That’s possibly the best way to describe my stress response.  Metaphorically, my brain stumbles, frizzy-haired and wild-eyed, into a classroom, late to a midterm she didn’t realize was happening, and the world — whom I imagine to be a disappointed, McGonagall-esque sort of presence — slides her a multiple choice exam sheet and an exam with only one question: “You must handle [insert stressor here], what is your best response?

A) Fight

B) Flight

C) Freeze

D) None of the above, handle this situation in a way you know you are capable of doing”

And my brain, in all of her primitive and evolutionary wisdom, lights up, because she knows the answer (everyone knows this one, it’s so easy)!  Iiiiiiiiit’s… freeze (because the answer is always C)!

Thus, I freeze.  I freeze like a possum playing dead, like a stone eater aboveground, like a corpse in rigor mortis (not playing dead). I freeze like cream-that-will-soon-be-ice-cream in liquid nitrogen.  Continue reading “Split Self: Essun’s Identities (And My Own Procrastination)”

Slavery Broke the World

In N.K. Jemisin’s work we see an earth twice (if not more times — remember, much of history is unwritten) shattered; once torn apart by the mysterious loss of the moon, once fragmented by Alabaster’s explosive and revolutionary orogeny.  In both cases, the shattering acts as a catalyst, as an end of on era: in the first case as an end to that stability which allows humanity to flourish (perhaps too much?) and a beginning of that chaotic existence which destroys society after society; in the second, the shattering is an end to the oppressive Sanzed regime and the beginning of some (thus far unknown) new world.  We can make geological and environmental connections galore in this world of unreliable, yet controllable, earth, but after stumbling upon a specific quote from Toni Morrison I have been mainly entranced by the myriad of metaphorical connotations this shattering embodies. Continue reading “Slavery Broke the World”