I was very excited while reading Montes’ Frayed Edges, Loose Thread. In it, she incredibly personifies her family’s struggle with diabetes.
She writes, “I’d cut animal shapes out of the material…My mother thought it was cute, my uncle thought I was imaginative, and las hermans Ruiz Esparza thought I was just being like a little nine-year old girl should be. But they just didn’t know. They didn’t know that by cutting the sleeve and making it into something different, I was magically cutting the diabetes out of the sleeve altogether. I had willed the thing away and it could not touch me.”
I have thinking a lot about what makes writing honest. What should an author reveal about his or herself? Should they reveal anything at all? Montes’s writing is incredibly transparent. She seems to uniquely capture the terror and panic of watching relatives suffer and die from this recurring illness. What does it mean that the diabetes is personified? It isn’t removed, or far, or detached, it is completely physical. More so than that, it claims ownership over her uncle, the family’s sheets and clothes, furniture. She makes it sound like a visitor who has overstayed their welcome, or a visitor whose visit has just been extended. There even seems to be a fear that the diabetes might clam ownership over her.
“Las hermanas Ruiz Esparza told my mother I had loved my uncle more than anyone and that’s why I cried. But no one knew. No one knew the diabetes would never go away. It would always be right here, somewhere where I had missed a crevice, where tío Tan had breathed and his breath had decided to float to the ceiling and stay forever. No one knew. Something remains, something stays.”
Perhaps the personification of emotions, and abstract figures leads to honest reflection.