"You can’t constantly put the blame on the world. You can’t talk about, you know, complicity and think of Islamic republic. Talk about brutality and just think about the world, from Palestine to Iraq to Darfur. At some point you have to say, that world, part of it is inside me. You know and I have to not only confront it but to give it a name, by acknowledging it.
There is a book which is rather different from mine but I was reading Alice Sebold’s ‘Lucky’, her, have you read her memoir, it is her memoir about being raped. It came before Lovely Bones. I told Alice Sebold I didn’t read Lovely Bones because, you know, like my book it became a bestseller. But ‘Lucky’ is a very interesting book because one night she’s walking in a park and this guy, and she’s a virgin, and he rapes her brutally, beats her, and batters her. And she said that from that moment on everybody who looked at her identified her with that act. Her parents, her sister, her schoolmates. That rapist had taken away her identity. She had now become a victim of the rape. Like the Islamic republic when I come from there you are not a woman, you are a woman coming from that country. Your identity is stolen, it is identity theft. And she sets out to take back her name, that is the important thing. She goes after the rapist and she writes a gorgeous poem, actually I don’t have it here with me, and she addresses her rapist, and she goes on telling him what she will do and she says, ‘You will no more be my rapist. I will give you a name. You will be John, or Luke, or Paul.’
The fact is that the world is cruel, and the cruelest of all is not just a tyrannical regime. We are every moment facing death, and we can do nothing about it. Except through memory. Except through making conclusive evidence that we have lived despite the fact that we will not live for ever."
– Azar Nafisi speaking at Los Angeles Public Library. January 13th, 2009.
"In our dreams, as in our tales, we use the dead to tell us things we’d otherwise have to admit that we are saying to ourselves."
– The Shadow Catcher by Marianne Wiggins
Somebody’s blade fingers your chest,
out for the bird in its warm nest
rocked in those tides that come and go.
Somebody’s thumb is on the flow
memory ride through secret places
to find the doors, to name the faces.
Somebody’s picking body’s lock,
tapping the glass, hefting a rock,
leaping the gate, cutting the wire
that fuses motion to desire.
What if this once nobody’s there?
Somebody’s step is on the stair.
"Moreover the memory lies helpless and languishes in sleep and does not protest that the person whom the mind thinks it sees
alive was overcome by death and destruction long ago."
– On the Nature of Things by Lucretius
Pain has an element of blank;
It cannot recollect
When it began, or if there were
A day when it was not.
It has no future but itself,
Its infinite realms contain
Its past, enlightened to perceive
New periods of pain.
"Then he was told:
Remember what you have seen,
because everything forgotten
returns to the circling winds."
– Lines from a Navajo Wind Chant