A few years ago I took a creative writing class at the new Harvey Milk Institute, an attempt at a sort of gay community adult school in San Francisco. Not sure whether it still exists but I liked the idea and wanted to support it. Plus I hadn’t taken a writing class in years.
E.. was one of the other students and she had a wounded, brittle air, always wearing long-sleeves and long pants and wide-brimmed hats. She said she had been badly injured and was still recovering. Every so often since I’ve seen her around Berkeley and she still covers up.
Last week she hung out at the Claremont branch where I work. She had an essay in the San Francisco Chronicle about the breakthrough she’d made in her recovery, and the article was the first time I got the details on what she was recovering from.
“I learned it was a propane explosion at a factory nearby. In the emergency room I heard the phrases, ‘explosion,’ ‘third-degree burns’ and ‘skin-graft surgery.’ I must have been in shock because all I could think about was going home to Berkeley and bicycling.”
It was nice to see E.. smiling. She seemed almost bubbly, her enthusiasm infectious. It seems she has a poetry chapbook forthcoming from a small press, too. She entered a contest, didn’t win, then was asked by the publisher if she wouldn’t mind them publishing her book anyway.
Update 7/22/10: E.. remembers this blog post as being very hurtful. Not wishing to hurt her feelings I thought I would remove it. Having reread it I have decided to leave it up, redacting her name. You may follow the link above if you wish to know it.