Linda Norton was born in Boston and now lives in New York. Three of her stories recently appeared in
The Northwest Review.
Working Notes, Linda Norton:
It's been five years since I wrote
It was meant as an anticipatory lament for the death of the mother (a mother still very much alive). Now it haunts me as a series of tableaux weirdly prescient of another death, the death of my brother Joseph at the age of 24.
I think the tone of
is relatively calm and stately; there is order, resolution, ritual, a natural progression of things. But death of the young is unnatural, it wrecks the equilibrium in a way that death of a parent does not.
Now, having been in the presence of death, I am bound to write more about the physicality of it, the way the body besieged disintegrates, makes itself a place where the soul cannot abide. I am forced to acknowledge the nature of death in a hospital, the way that doctors, nurses, priests, machines (and even, in the case of AIDS, the media) serve as a sort of chorus to the waning of life. Now writing about a death is an extension of the tossing and turning that one suffers at night, remembering a life supersaturated with meaning.