Lidia Yuknavitch

“Everything that’s ever happened to you is alive inside your body. Your body carries your experiences with you. That ache in your lower back is a story. Where desire ignites on your body is a story. The way you get an eye twitch when you talk or think about certain things is a story. When you blush, sweat, laugh, cry—all stories.

Your digestive system, your respiratory system, every ‘place’ on or in your body is holding some of your life story. Your wrinkles and scars. Your body is a walking metaphor of your life.

Western literary traditions ask us to make our stories cerebral and to distance ourselves from body knowledge. To intellectualize our physicality. Well sure, that’s one way to tell a story, one way among thousands — and it has too often been the case historically that only select bodies and stories have been legitimized. The bodies and stories of oppressed and repressed people become the raw material for storytelling that intellectualizes the body or displaces the body into ‘character,’ ‘action,’ ‘plot,’ and ‘protagonist.’ For example, women, people of color, LGBT folks, people with mental health difficulties, prisoners, refugees, poor people, and even the planet and animals…. Our stories often emerge from the inside-out, and thus we have to agitate the tradition from the edges. We have to invent strategies for amplifying our voices and claiming space and legitimacy for our bodies, lives, and stories.”
– Lidia Yuknavitch