Writing about Difficult Topics: Bringing Dark Corners into the Light

by Carla Sameth

“Bringing dark corners into the light sometimes is very painful and debilitating, but sometimes you have to do it.” Gerda Govine Ituarte

Sometimes you can’t help but do it…go into the room naked. Writing saved my life and writing has almost driven me mad. “They” say, show don’t tell, but sometimes you have to do both. In December 28, 2009, just before the news stories started to break in a substantial way about the culture of violence within the LA County Sheriff’s department (LACSD), a LACSD deputy broke my nose and something inside of me broke as I squatted in my own blood on the platform of the Highland Park Metro station. Three years later, I wrote about this in my cover story in the Pasadena Weekly, “One Day on the Gold Line”.

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The Animal In Us

by Melissa Chadburn and Lauren Eggert-Crowe

One December night in Culver City, I, Melissa Chadburn, was talking to Lauren Eggert-Crowe about Kate Gale’s Huff Po missive about AWP’s inclusion and Carol Muske-Dukes’ defense of said article. Lauren said she’d wanted to write a response but it takes her time to write these things. I suggested we collaborate on a response to be read aloud at a Red Hen Press event. So on Thursday April 7th, rather than read the essay that Red Hen published in the Los Angeles Review, I read this:

I used to live in a group home. I used to wander the streets looking into people’s dining rooms with the worst kind of ache. I used to stand around with teenage boys on the street corner waiting for the stoplight to change color. I used to hitch rides through the Palisades to go to my group home for girls by the ocean. I used to worry about gonorrhea and feel like I was the worst piece of shit alive. I used to pat my mother’s hair between my hands like hamburger meat. I used to practice kissing girls by kissing the back of my hand or kissing my own shoulder just to see what my skin tasted like. I used to do graffiti on government issued desks waiting for my name to be called. I used to long to belong to a world of the ordinary.

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