Make them Endure, Give them Space

Resisting in troubled times

I was having the most amazing week, Just Monday night, I was jumping up and down in my heels and whooping til my voice was sore to celebrate Madeleine Thien winning the Giller Prize for her book, Do Not Say We Have Nothing. I rode that high all through Tuesday until I started following the election results. As more and more states turned red, I felt my stomach turn and bile rise into my mouth. I knew it was a possibility (after all Toronto, Canada’s largest and most lauded multicultural city, had elected Rob Ford) but I didn’t think it would actually happen. Since then I’ve gone through various stages of grief. I spent most of Wednesday blotting tears before they fell, hoping my coworkers wouldn’t notice. On Thursday I was livid, snapping and swearing at every mention of the disastrous turn of events. Now I am a knot of emotion but I am, at least, closer to the mindset I want to settle on: defiant and impassioned resistance. All my time and energy is dedicated to the protection and empowerment of mistreated minorities, especially black women.

I often doubt my ability to do that within the publishing industry. Who cares about books when kids are getting shot in the street? In a twitter chat, I obliquely asked Madeleine Thien for her advice:

This was reassuring for me. I am not an artist but I can give space to the artists whose work is so vital now more than ever. I can do all I can to guard their time and their energy so they can focus on creation. I can amplify their work so their words and legacy endures. This is how I’ll fight. This is how I resist.

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