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Letter to My Rage: An Evolution
Letter to My Rage: An Evolution
Letter to My Rage: An Evolution
Ebook27 pages25 minutes

Letter to My Rage: An Evolution

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars



About this ebook

Lidia Yuknavitch has described a writer as “a locus through which intensities pass.” The passions Yuknavitch has brought to bear in her bestselling novels The Book of Joan and The Small Backs of Children and in her searing memoir The Chronology of Water are a testament not only to her outsize powers as a writer but to her daring, a readiness to upend the status quo and the expectations people have of her as a woman, artist, and citizen. And now, when it’s become undeniable that our societal norms are not merely unjust but, for too many Americans, deadly, when public anger is at an all-time high, who better than Yuknavitch to help us acknowledge this moment—in all its horror, absurdity, and pain? She does so here in a direct address to her rage.

Letter to My Rage opens in a clinic where the author is waiting to be tested for COVID-19 antibodies. A sighting of the unmasked face of the president on the clinic TV makes her travel “beyond anger” to seethe at an administration ill-prepared to battle a pandemic or confront the racial and economic disparities that ensure vulnerability not just to disease but to a host of human brutalities. And she doesn’t stop there—she can’t. Throughout her life, rage, rather than destroying her, has transformed and compelled her: It was rage that forced her to claim her body: its blood, heat, and power; that ushered her into a world of ideas; and that would show her that where the political and the personal intersect, art flourishes, community and solidarity are found, and change begins. With the murder of George Floyd, her rage reaches an apotheosis. She joins the protests and asks that if men’s anger is frequently used to reinforce an unequal system—as in the grotesque spectacle of a white man’s knee on a Black man’s neck—how can women’s be used? How can her own? Can it be as constructive as it is destructive? Can it create something that was not there before and not just for her? As she sits in that waiting room, she knows the answer is in the body that’s contained her rage for so long, in her very blood; it can offer protection, fuel for others’ activism, a chance for a cure.

This incendiary, cathartic account from one of our most fearless writers urges us to reassess and reclaim one of our most intense emotions during unrelentingly intense and troubling times.

Release dateAug 25, 2020
Letter to My Rage: An Evolution

Lidia Yuknavitch

Lidia Yuknavitch is the author of the National Bestselling novel The Small Backs of Children, winner of the 2016 Oregon Book Award's Ken Kesey Award for Fiction as well as the Reader's Choice Award, the novel Dora: A Headcase, and three books of short stories. Her widely acclaimed memoir The Chronology of Water was a finalist for a PEN Center USA award for creative nonfiction and winner of a PNBA Award and the Oregon Book Award Reader's Choice. She founded the workshop series Corporeal Writing in Portland Oregon, where she also teaches Women's Studies, Film Studies, Writing, and Literature. She received her doctorate in Literature from the University of Oregon. She lives in Oregon with her husband Andy Mingo and their renaissance man son, Miles. She is a very good swimmer.

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Rating: 4.030769230769231 out of 5 stars

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  • Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
    Don't waste your time. Really bad in a million ways
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    Wonderful!! Thought provoking narrative with an ending that helps shine a light on a constructive path forward. WOULD RECOMMEND
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    quotes from this will absolutely become my mantra moving foward. i could identify my own struggle with anger in this essay, things that bubble in my chest that i can't use words to express. i too want to be the swimmer on the side, thank you lidia.

    1 person found this helpful

  • Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
    Do not recommend - especially for young impressionable minds, and especially in today's climate of violence where our youth have been indoctrinated by those who have rage and hate America. The author needs Christ!! Only Jesus can satisfy your soul - only He can mend your heart and make you whole. He'll bring you peace! <3

    3 people found this helpful

Book preview

Letter to My Rage - Lidia Yuknavitch

My Mother’s Body

Dear Rage, my eternal internal electrical storm.

I wonder, did you present at birth?

Was there perhaps something slightly more than the wail of an infant in that first guttural screech, something left of animal before its transformation? Did the sound reach back toward a different species, a longing to be something other than human, something in the belly of the mother waters, or forward into the fight that was coming?

There is a woman more than six feet away from me in a waiting room at a clinic. The woman is breastfeeding a baby, its little hands opening and closing. The woman is also balancing a laptop on her thighs; the baby hangs in a sling-type thing that women who are smarter than me figure out, unlike when I carried an infant, twenty years ago. The woman also has a small—very small—dog on a leash curled at her feet. They let dogs in clinics now? Is it an emotional support animal perhaps? Or just the fact that we are all in pandemic mode, so rules are bending? I keep imagining the terrible moment when they call her name—will there be a cataclysmic tumult of laptop, dog, and baby? Will I rush over to help her or stay a good-stranger distance away?

The nursing woman is wearing a mask. The nurse behind the glass is wearing a mask. I am wearing a mask. The baby is not wearing a mask, its head is soft, like baby’s heads are, and it’s sucking a boob, which is as it should be. The dog is not wearing a mask, but animals make me feel better about everything lately. The surge and song of them. How they are filling the streets and squares and trees and trails and oceans and rivers … and waiting rooms.

On the television,

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