THEBUCKET What do you do with wounds that accumulate but never scar? For Jennifer Sinor, professor of English, you hold old hurts up to the light and see what you can make of them. Her memoir Ordinary Trauma, published by the University of Utah Press, uses a series of flash nonfiction essays to revisit the everyday harms she experienced growing up in motion between military bases.
“With memoir, you’re looking at ‘So what?’ of it,” Sinor said. “You’re looking for the meaning and the themes. Memoir is not a chronological telling of the past. It’s taking the truth of the past and bending it. And the bending of it tells you who you are.” She is the one not chosen. The daughter consumed by loss. A person who hoards moving boxes for just in case. Sinor is also a survivor. —km your life and figuring out the
THE BUCKET Late April 1969. For the past few weeks, purple spiderwort and phlox have begun to appear along the cactus-rimmed roads of Kingsville, Texas, a naval town. The flowers have risen open-faced and ready after a short, mild winter, one noticeable only to the locals. Within several months, somewhere in the hot middle of summer, the roads will fill with June bugs the size of small mammals. Those who have lived in Kingsville for at least one summer already know that when driving these June-bugged roads, they need to turn the radio up to drown the sound of bodies crunching beneath the tires. But this comes later. Now it is spring. And in rhythm with the rest of the natural world, the obstetrics ward of the Kingsville County Hospital is filled with women giving birth. A man hurries into a waiting room. Tree-tall and just as narrow, he wears a dark suit with a thin, black tie. The fluorescent lighting draws out the red in his hair, setting the crown aflame. Not stopping at the registration desk or to check the hospital floor plan posted near the elevator, he moves through the halls with the precision of a surgeon. It is his second visit to the hospital that day. Only a few hours before, having made sure his wife was safely in the hands of the doctors, he had rushed home to shower, shave, and change from his jeans and tshirt. When his first child came into the world, he wanted to be wearing a suit. Now, shaving cream still clinging to the lobes of his long ears, he returns, suited, and finds a place in the waiting room with the other fathers. The total trip has taken only a little over an hour. What he doesn’t know is that the waiting has just begun.
6 UTAHSTATE I WINTER 2017
Published on Nov 15, 2017