This was the Introduction of my still-in-process poetry collection currently titled: Balancing Between: Deafness, Death, and Other Journeys. I’ve cut it from the manuscript itself, but it’s a fitting first blog post to introduce you to me, Kristen Ringman:
As a younger writer, I wrote in the context of dreamed philosophies yearning towards the natural world I felt humans were losing more each day. Like a proper teenager, I wrote about things I often couldn’t even touch.
Now, as my ears have spent many years deafening, my writing has found its way back to my own body. I’ve explored sweltering countries like India and Kenya, fallen in love with their red soil, their roads that cut through fields like a scar, and the way I suddenly felt at peace beneath their banana palms or banyan branches. I’m always more at home in foreign places. I’ve watched loved ones die of one cancer or another, and whether it was in India or America, the cancer reared its wild head like a lion that knew it would never be tamed. Humans still stood by, powerless to such bodily invasion, holding words or scraps of tissue in their palms.
These experiences I have swallowed, along with the taste of lovers, mangoes, and hot chai, have all shaped my writing as a form of navigation through the margins of the world. I’m always caught between cultures, between words read on lips or hands, between my desire to please myself and my desire to please someone else.
Writing is my way of drawing the right lines between myself and other bodies, lines that are as red as the roads in India or Africa, and just as deaf. Writing the things I have touched.