I have an AWP recap forthcoming, but for now, I’m going to give this.
Aubrey Hirsch was one of the people I was most looking forward to meeting at AWP last week, so when I heard she’d come down with a flu of some sort and decided to forego the conference, I was what one might call “crestfallen,” though that term may seem melodramatic. It isn’t.
I just spent about 10 minutes of my morning reading Aubrey’s essay, “Speaking From the Throat,” at The Summerset Review, an essay about terrifying medical treatments, and even more terrifying medical questions, about understanding and trusting your body, yourself. Make 10 minutes for this.
I’ve just ingested 15.1 microcuries of I-131, a radioactive isotope of iodine. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s enough. And it has a half-life of eight days. So for the next five days I have to stay locked in my apartment, away from other people while it weakens to a harmless level. The radiation in my body could kill a person’s thyroid gland if they come within ten feet of me, or come in contact with my saliva or sweat. Of course, it will ruin my thyroid gland as well. But this is exactly what it’s meant to do.
NB: This essay is in no way related to why Aubrey missed AWP last week. She was sick with flu or something — not radioactively developing super powers. This is an older essay I recently stumbled on thanks to a tweet by Fiction Writers Review. Sorry for any confusion.