Jan 2, 2020

origin stories

Speaking of Elizabeth McCracken, the new book has a number of disabled characters. McCracken names the condition of disability in ways that both matter and don’t matter for people making sense of self and relationships. One character, Joe Wear, has an unusual walking gait. And when he meets his lover, Virgil, this not-mattering is one of the reasons Joe is so immediately smitten. Virgil doesn’t prize the origin story. He doesn’t demand to know the efficiency of cause and effect to encounter the person, full stop:

Virgil never asked Joe, either, the cause of his rolling, irregular walk. People always wanted to know, as though they could not make sense of Joe himself, could not hear a word he said, without that piece of information. As though he were a different person depending on the timing of the event: before birth, at birth, childhood, last year. Depending on the cause: in utero shock, a violent father, a runaway horse, an act of bravery or cowardice, fate, luck, fault.


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