Three pages from The Book of Cora – a work in progress.
My writing slowed down drastically after the birth of my son in 2017, but I came back to it at the onset of the pandemic—as a means of finding some rooting in all that 2020 rootlessness. I came back by picking up a long dormant project found on a thumb drive, following the whiplash of learning to mother a baby and then a toddler. Grappling with the losses that happen with that mothering role and trying to figure out how to make the gains of it fill the holes of those things lost. An attempt to repossess first, my body, and then my craft.
Some of that personal messiness, that grief and grasping, inspires this work in progress. But it’s about two things, mainly: the examination of the lives of 19th century women involved in the spiritualist movement—a religion based on the belief that the spirits of the dead communicate with the living through mediumship—and my mother’s own experimentation with the religion in 2002 and 2003.
The book shifts between present and past – examining how we lean on our dead, how we make sense of the dead, how we make sense of ourselves in their absence.