“There is no hierarchy in the web of life.”
Essayist Lacy M. Johnson attends a funeral in Iceland for “Okjökull” — once a glacier 16 square kilometers in surface, and now “only a small patch of slushy gray ice.” In personifying shrinking masses of ice — key geographical features of the area, and the planet — officials hope to impress upon people the dire extent of climate change, and the need for humans to stop living in ways that threaten all life forms.
“You deserve to name the harm that has been done to you by others, and you have a responsibility to name the harm you have done. What I am asking is that we make space for these stories of our failures, our ugliness, our unlikability, and greet them with love when they appear.”
We must speak truth to the power of all that threatens to keep women and girls silent in the face of sexual violence.
Low-level nuclear waste, discarded from the experiments of World War II’s Manhattan Project, was dumped in two locations in the suburbs of St. Louis. Author Lacy M. Johnson chronicles the human costs of America’s nuclear arms race.
An essay about the meaning of a death sentence, from a pediatric cancer ward to death row.
An excerpt from Lacy M. Johnson’s memoir The Other Side, which details Johnson’s experience of being held prisoner in a soundproofed room by her ex-boyfriend and what followed after she escaped:
The Detective follows me to my new apartment in the unmarked car. He offers to come inside, to stand guard at the door, but I don’t want him to see that I have no furniture, no food in the fridge, nothing in the pantry, or the linen closet, or on the walls. I ask him to wait outside. I call my boss at the literary magazine where I am an intern and leave a message on the office voice mail: Hi there. I was kidnapped and raped last night. I won’t be coming in today. I call My Good Friend’s cell phone. I call My Older Sister’s cell phone.
While I’m in the shower, the apartment phone rings and callers leave messages on the machine: My Good Friend will stay with her boyfriend; she’s delaying her move-in date. Of course she hates to do this, but she’s just too scared to live here, with me, right now. You should find somewhere to go, she says. My Handsome Friend’s message says he heard the news from My Good Friend. He’s leaving town and doesn’t think it’s safe to tell me where to find him. The message My Older Sister leaves says she wants me to come stay at her place, which sounds better than sleeping alone in this apartment on the floor.