Outside the Circle

Cindy Milstein

Bookended between “Bitter” and “Sweet”


“Bittersweet”: that’s the lone word, more than any other, that has stuck with me throughout the long, winding journey of gathering the pieces for an anthology on grief, loss, and resistance. Just as the compulsion to do this book has stuck with me, through (re)new(ed) grief — my own, and that of many of the contributors to this volume. So it’s moved slowly, from pain to pen, to someday soonish, paper.

I would like to assert that it’s purely sweet news that AK Press has once again done me (and all the writer-humans in this forthcoming book) the honor of enthusiastically agreeing to publish what’s tentatively titled “Collective Works of Grief.” Yet the bitter is equally at hand — not at all toward AK (I love them!) — with this announcement: one contributor’s partner has recently died of cancer, from precisely the communal-societal loss that they speak of in their piece; and the very compulsion of this book, grappling together with so many losses that should be unnecessary in a far more humane form(s) of society, makes it inherently a project that rips at the heart.

Still, I’m overjoyed that AK is partner-in-publication again, and grateful. I’m grateful, daily, to those brave, open writer-humans who are going to collectively share the space of this anthology and its vulnerable-resilient strength. For as I’ve discovered through curating this book, writing, and mourning, the myriad losses many of us have to live with are, in truth, part of the brutal social order’s project of violence — and “the normalization of violence.”

As Mirtha Luz Pérez Robledo observes in her piece, translated and with a prologue by Scott Campbell, marking the one-year anniversary of her daughter’s murder by those in power in Mexico:

“When almost nothing remains, what remains is to defend memory, what remains is to not become desensitized to the normalization of violence, of this damned violence that sometimes seems so far away and at other times slaps us in the face. What remains is to turn our backs on the individualism imposed by the market’s logic, on this ridiculous ‘everyone for themselves.’ What remains is solidarity.”

Stay tuned for this book in 2017.

#MourningOurDeadFightingLikeHellForTheLiving #NoMoreStolenLives

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(Photo by Cindy Milstein, fragment of a piece of art on death and light by Swoon.)

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This entry was posted on October 21, 2016 by in Dispatches from Life, Dispatches from Rebellious Spaces.
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