What Burns In the Pit; Ashley Ford at The Rumpus

17 Apr

I don’t often vouch for the work of my contributors outside of the occasional round up, mostly for fear of the “circle jerk” label getting tagged on the reputation of our blog, but when something of one of ours shines this bright, I can’t help but use Vouched Online to get the word out about it.

Rumpus Original Art by Jason Novak

Over at The Rumpus, our own Ashley Ford has an essay up reflecting on growing up with her grandmother, apart from her mother who had a life she needed to pick up before she could manage the kind of kindness necessary to who Ashley needed her to be.

I’ve heard Ashley read this essay a couple times now, but it’s such a different experience seeing it on the page, being able to interact with it instead of just letting it pass through me, being able to sit with the terrible beauty of the images, the exact perfect scenes she culls together from her childhood to make this essay so powerful and necessary a read.

I spent my free time exploring our land, roaming farther than I should. Too dumb to be scared of them, I made a game of sneaking up on and catching snakes by the tail. I caught them fast enough to shock them, and then dropped them before they caught my skin between their fangs. I’d been bitten once. After the garden snake released me, I’d closed my eyes, leaned against a tree. I soothed myself by speaking directly into my punctured hand.

“It don’t hurt, Ashley.”

I cradled the stinging hand with its opposite.

“If it hurt, you’d die. You won’t die.”

Read the full essay, “What Burns In the Pit,” at The Rumpus.

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