January 2017: Laura Ingram
Laura Ingram is a tiny teen with large glasses and a recent graduate of Appomattox Regional Governor's School for the Arts and Technology. Laura's poetry and prose have been published in several literary magazines, among them Gravel Magazine, Jet Fuel Review, Canvas Lit, The Teenage Wasteland Review, The Cactus Heart Review, and Allegro Poetry. Laura began writing at age six and has only stopped a few times to sleep since. She loves Harry Potter and Harry Styles, and hopes to be a bird when she grows up.
A Response to the Return of King's article "5 reasons to date a girl with an eating disorder." (Excerpt)
5. She is better in bed.
She sterilizes herself with Chanel No. 5. Her clavicles bud with bluebells at the brush of your fingers.
In the time of tuberculosis, when a man wanted to impress a woman, he would learn the language of flowers.
Most of the perennials were meant for apologies.
She insists you scrub the dirt from beneath your nail beds before she slides under the sheet. You didn't know love was something with prerequisites.
She doesn't have to know you only kiss her pelvic bones for practice. She won't remember the alias for alarm you whisper in her ear.
When surgical students are training with cadavers, the fat comes off before they open up.
She will love you and love you until she is empty, behind closed doors and beneath open palms again.
4. Probably has money of her own
She picks up the tab when you take her out for sushi, tap the tines of her fork against her teacup, cleaves her lettuce into crescents while your friends stare, and when she gets up to go to the bathroom, they ask you what is wrong with her and you pretend not to know.
She comes back to the table, eyes red and whirring as the evening news, leaves a generous tip.
When you lean down to kiss her goodnight, her mouth has been replaced with a hotline number.
3. She is fragile and vulnerable.
Her doctors worry she will fall and break her hip. She worries you will remember she is only ulna and aspartame, and leave her in search of something more solid.
She never leaves dishes in the sink, but her hair is falling out, and her sweater isn't clean.
(Previously published in Forest for the Trees)
A Conversation with Laura Ingram
Richa: What most influences your writing? What do you believe are your greatest sources of inspiration?
Laura: I'd have to say my love for reading inspires me the most, particularly Markus Zusak's virtuoso novel, "The Book Thief" which I first discovered at age eleven. I also often draw inspiration from music, or just my own perceptions and memories of the world.
Richa: Your poem 'A Response to the Return of King's Article [...]' is one of the most striking I've read. Could you tell us more about it, and what stimulated you to write it?
Laura: The article this poem responds to is an appalling display of misogyny, that, as a young woman, must endure throughout any endeavor. I find it disturbing that our current culture is complacent towards the barrage of criticism lodged at girls; be modest, but don't tease him. Be thin, but not so frail you cannot keep up with him. Look beautiful, but protest when he tells you so.
Richa: Most writers face adversity along their journey. Have you had to deal with any such battles yourself?
Laura: I have struggled with anorexia nervosa since age twelve and generalized anxiety disorder since age fourteen. I escape into blotted ink and blinking cursors. To add to the GAD, my heart races and my face occasionally feels like a burning building.