Autobiography of a Sea Creature
Healing the Trauma of Infant Surgery
Operated on as an infant, without anesthesia, Wendy P. Williams began life at war with her body. There were tubes everywhere, in and out of every opening, her mother reminded her on every anniversary of her surgery. Autobiography of a Sea Creature takes readers on Williams’ difficult sensory journey toward healing, as she communes along the way with horseshoe crabs, dolphins, and other marine life that taught her the restorative power of beauty, resilience, and interdependence. At times luscious and lyrical, at other times analytical and reflective, this literary memoir portrays the dissociative experience of trauma and the roots of self-destructive cycles, as well as the tragic results of medical beliefs at the time that infants could not feel pain. Autobiography of a Sea Creature is both a love letter to the earth and a hopeful testament of humans' capacity to heal our deepest wounds.
– Life on the Georgetown Divide, California
Wendy Williams takes the reader by the hand and slowly, graciously, points out a “way to see where before we did not” - by exploring the borderland of the Sierra, the rich and diverse chaparral that so many inattentively pass through, going somewhere else. With this collection, one can linger, survey what is arching above, what miniature cosmos lies at one’s feet, what treasure is just within fingers’ reach. Through these poems, what may seem insignificant or familiar is translated refreshingly deftly. Reader, pause and savor each. Repeat.
Brigit Shea Truex, author of Strong as Silk: The Story of the Gold Hill Wakamatsu Tea & Silk Colony
With economical, precise, yet lyrical language, Wendy Williams reminds us urban dwellers (myself!) that we humans are not the center of the universe. The natural world “in chaparral” is her center and feeds her creative spirit. Her originality lies in her beautiful descriptions: running wild turkeys are ''like monks I heeding a call to prayer,” ants are “hundreds of black hyphens,” vultures are. “dark angels,” flocks of birds are observed as “an alphabet flies my way/ fifty black bold letters.” She sees foxgloves falling to earth “like nightgowns I slipped off/ lying/ in soft pink heaps / the covering of the self / let go.” What more do you need to entice you to read this beautiful and accomplished collection by Wendy Williams!
Judy Wells, author of The Glass Ship. Call Home and Everything Irish