Over the past few years, Interminable Rambling has grown by leaps and bounds. Starting a couple of years ago, I added Medium to the blog, posting both here and on my my own site interminablerambling.com. I did this to, among other things, increase readership, and it has done just that. From about 2018 to 2020, the main website had about 40–45k views per year. That number skyrocketed in 2021 to 70k views. This year, the main site has had 80k views, and the Medium site has had, at least according to the stats I see, about on average 2k views per month. That means that this year my sites have had around 100k views, and probably more. That’s not a large number, all things considered, but that constant increase in views is what keeps me going when I inevitably think, “Should I keep doing this?” In the last post, I wrote about two of my favorite posts from this past year, and today I want to write about two more as I close out 2022.

Death is Love

I started this blog as a way to maintain some sort of writing schedule, to practice what I tell students in class, “Write some everyday.” As well, I started it to think about and explore different things that interest me professionally, writing about pedagogy, books I’ve been reading, and so forth. All of my writing is personal because while I’m writing about different things and I am also exploring myself and my beliefs; however, I tend to keep my personal life and what happens in my personal life apart from my blog. Yet, sometimes they overlap, and that occurred this year as we dealt with my mother’s illness and her passing.

She was diagnosed, in the fall of 2021, with stage four ovarian cancer, and the only reason they caught it was because she fell and had some internal bleeding. During the first part of 2022, she went through chemotherapy and had a hysterectomy. Around the end of July, she went back to the oncologist for a checkup to see if the cancer had spread, and it had spread all over. The prognosis was that she had eighteen months left. In October, she went into the hospital, and everything went down hill from there. She remained in the hospital most of the month, coming home on Halloween for Hospice care.

Being twelve hours away from home, I left November 1 to drive back and be there for a few days. I was able to stay a few days, and spend time with her and family, and “Death is Love” arose while I was there, sitting on the couch next to her hospital bed in the living room with my dad and others. I left a few days later, and the next week, a day before my birthday, she passed.

“Death can kill a man, that is all it do to him; it cannot end his life, because of memory.” These are words that Lillian Smith wrote in The Journey (1954) and which appear on her grave. I think about them everyday because memory keeps those we love alive.

The Narratives of History in Killadelphia

Ok, so this one is not technically one post. Rather, it’s five posts that I wrote as I prepared for my “Monsters, Race, and Comics” class this past fall. When I started thinking about that course, I knew I wanted to have students read the first two volumes of Killadelphia because Rodney Barnes and Jason Shawn Alexander’s series uses horror and the gothic to highlight the ways that we tell stories and specifically the ways that we present history. I specifically looked at the ways that Killadelphia presents Jupiter’s and Sally Hemings’ stories, through the white perspectives of Abigail Adams and Thomas Jefferson and then reverses that perspective, specifically with Jupiter, to undercut the dominant narrative. While Sally does not get the same reversal, her narrative arc highlights the ways that whiteness works only to support and increase its own positions.

When I taught Killadelphia, students really enjoyed it, and I wish I had them read volume three where we see the introduction of Anansi and discussions of religion more at the forefront. This would have paired well with Greg Anderson Elysée’s Is’Nana The Were-SpiderHowever, I didn’t do that, partly because of time. If I taught this course again, I may have students read all of Killadelphia, at least the issues that have come out at the time of the class, because as I continue to read the series, more and more discussions about memory, stories, faith, and other topics arise that make it a text full of possible discussion topics for class.

Killadelphia’s narrative and style impacted students in the class, and this can be seen in some of their graphic narrative/script pieces, notably this comic that students did about LGBTQ+ teens being abducted and the intersections between religion and LGBTQ+ discrimination. What I love about this is that students took inspiration from Killadelphia, along with Nita Hawes Nightmare Blog, and made their own story of it. They highlighted how we are all in conversation with one another, taking inspiration from other artists and making something new, conversing with artists across the page, across geography, across time, to discover something about ourselves and the world around us. I fretted over how that project would go, but seeing the finished scripts and projects, my fears subsided because students showcased how they took what they learned in class and created pieces that illuminated themselves and the world around them.

Top Five Favorite Books I’ve Read This Year

This past year, I’ve read about 90 books. That includes novels, graphic novels, plays, and other texts. Below is a list of five of my favorite books from this past year. I may, in a future post, write some more about what makes these books my favorites.

  • Baldwin, James Giovanni’s Room
  • Lewis, Sinclair It Can’t Happen Here
  • Pichetshote, Pornsak and Alexandre Tefenkgi The Good Asian
  • Ram V. and Filipe Andrade The Many Deaths of Laila Starr
  • Whitman, James Q. Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law
  • What are some of your favorite posts? Favorite books? Thoughts? As always, let me know in the comments below. Make sure to follow me on Twitter @silaslapham.

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