Question from Doctor:  I can’t seem to identify the location of your pain.  Where does it hurt?

Lidia at 49:

It hurts in my skinsong.  It hurts in the years it’s taken to unlearn
everything I was told about my own bodymind.  It hurts when I
breathe too loudly and hear my father’s voice chiding me, my sister,
my mother:  “Do you have to breathe so loudly?”  It hurts when
someone I love is suffering needlessly—some person or force or lack
making them feel “less than” or wrong—it hurts knowing the only
way through is through this death culture teaching us a woman’s body
is always and forever a thing.  Is that in my arm?  My leg?  My breast?
My vagina?  My head or heart?  Yes.

Mother is cleaning the spoons again. From where I sit in the kitchen, I can see the reflection of her trippy-looking head: bulbous skull, stretched down mouth, eyes that scoop away at the rest of her face. A droop-faced woman. Jeeeez. Just look at her. She’s rubbing the holy crap out of those spoons. Poor, silvery utensils.

That’s what it felt like to be her kid, too.

Writers are by definition obsessed with words. And when it comes down to it, unless you’re really plucky, there are two or three words you’re stuck with for life: your name. Every other week I’ll ask a different writer five or so questions on the subject. This week I talked with Lidia Yuknavitch. She is the author of the novel Dora: A Headcase, a modern farce, and The Chronology of Water. And some other books. She writes and teaches and loves and mothers in Portland, Oregon. “Explicit Violence” will appear in the forthcoming anthology, Get Out of My Crotch, due out from Cherry Bomb Books in 2013, co-edited by Kim Wyatt and Rumpus columnist Sari Botton.