Away and Away, Then To: A Memoir

By Susan Rukeyser

August 20, 2018

Away and Away, Then To: A Memoir

The placenta blocked my exit. I was lifted from my mother just in time. London, 1968—bound for my father's USA. The month between Martin and Bobby; I imagine everyone sad.

In green towns outside New York City: art, ice-skating, horses, dogs. Sisters. My father was on TV so strangers shook his hand.

In the 80s, darkness rooted. I did my best: Flashdance sweatshirts, Brooke Shields eyebrows. Wealth mortified me. I got high, I let boys.

I searched through charcoal and paint. I wrote, then doubted myself to silence.

I married three men (not at once). Raised a human, better than me. Life tapped her watch when planes hit towers, when cancer stole my dad. I published a novel that said what I meant. I moved away and away, then to: a chosen home, the Mojave, and exhaled.

Comments (16) - Post a Comment
Beautifully intense. Love, love “I wrote then doubted myself into silence.”
Karen Zey at 9:07am EDT - August 20, 2018
Beautiful, incisive, poetic. A full life painted in these few paragraphs.
Susan Cole at 9:34am EDT - August 20, 2018
Exquisite, Susan. I exhaled when you did. My Mojave will come, too.
Britton Minor at 9:57am EDT - August 20, 2018
Gut-wrenching beauty in the minimal choice of just the right words. I empathasize. Admire the talent that Susan has to convey such a huge range of emotions, visions, stories in those few words.
Joyce C Ragland at 1:06pm EDT - August 20, 2018
A lesson on how to say so much, so minimally, so exquisitely.
Valerie White at 1:20pm EDT - August 20, 2018
Autumn Shah at 1:40pm EDT - August 20, 2018
Breathtakingly exquisite. I will read it again and again.
Diana Rico at 2:29pm EDT - August 20, 2018
A beautifully written journey, a life in forever moments. Powerful and vulnerable. Love the language. I look forward to hearing about the exhale.
Angela Mia Torres at 11:29pm EDT - August 20, 2018
So much living in so few words. Enchanting. . .
MaryAnne Kolton at 11:47pm EDT - August 20, 2018
As a memoir writer, I am awed by your ability to put so much life into so few words. Thank you!
Gladys Strickland at 2:24pm EDT - August 21, 2018
It’s pleasure to see people make such abbreviation on their lives. People learn from your wisdom. Thanks you for your meaningful life experience in such a few words.
Jerry Shao at 12:42pm EDT - September 18, 2018
I didn’t think that someone could accurately, concisely, and beautifully describe their life in this manner. The exact right words were chosen to describe an interesting life in a little over one hundred words. I hope that if I write a memoir on my own life someday I’ll have enough attention grabbing material like you. Thank you.
Michael F Winnett at 1:29am EDT - September 19, 2018
This piece accurately showed a person’s life in only several paragraphs. You wrote this full of details, and you didn’t have any redundant words. The whole piece is beautiful.
Yuan Wang at 2:08am EDT - September 19, 2018
I love the prose in this piece. It seems so indirect and the words allude to coherent and comprehensive life experiences and events in so few words. I feel like I've comprehended the content of an almost auto biography with the length of a short poem. Well done!
Dan Alling at 2:19am EDT - September 19, 2018
I would this very moving, especially in the final lines. "Life tapped her watch" is such a saddening metaphor. The timeline of this piece also intrigues me, given the short and succinct nature of this piece. Thank you for sharing this.
Jack at 4:14am EDT - September 19, 2018
I love how raw and real this piece feels. All of the heartbreak and healing is condensed to fit in such a short work of art. As readers we see a beautiful glimpse into another's life, and the sadness truly resonates.
Bevin at 1:00pm EDT - September 19, 2018

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