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Mirror Pain

My mother was the one who became sick first.


On a hot August night in Chula Vista, California, my mother woke up unable to feel her legs. Within hours, she'd be diagnosed with polio, one of more than 35,000 cases in 1953. Two days later, her older sister joined her in the polio ward. Though they both survived, the trajectories of their lives were forever changed.


Mirror Pain chronicles my mother's life post-polio, as well as what it means to be the daughter of a polio survivor. Mirror Pain includes excerpts from a draft of my mother's memoir, evoking a collective narration that complicates notions of truth and memory, and addresses the impact of intergenerational trauma. It interrogates tensions between illness and recovery, and establishes systems of interdependence where mother and daughter both participate in care taking. Spanning more than fifty years, Mirror Pain ultimately positions polio as one of many tragedies. It poses questions of fate and faith, identifying how, when there is little else to believe in, family can mean everything.

Mirror Pain is currently in completed 60k word draft form, and I am seeking agent representation. For more information about the project, please reach me via the contact page.

A sepia photo from 1953. Two little girls, dressed in matching plaid coats and white dresses. Their arms are intertwined. One girl is in a large metal wheelchair and the other stands next to her, their lips pressed together in a playful kiss.
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