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She writes of silence, Radka Donnell in Quilts as Women’s Art: A Quilt Poetics, of how in Bulgaris women kept a small stone in their mouth to keep them from talking back or screaming. The stone kept them quiet. Quiet kept them safe. They called it their wisdom stone.

Silence, a verb.

Silence, a noun.

An ebullient, enthusiastic talker as recent as two years ago, Nancy is now quiet. She speaks very little, and when she does say something, it’s barely more than whisper, causing you to focus, tune out, lean in. Do these drawings surface from the recent pharmaceutically-induced silence or do they emerge from a life of physiologically-induced silence?

She draws in silence.

I stitch in silence.



She is my developmentally disabled sister-in-law, Nancy,
and I am Jeanne, the woman who flat-out loves her.
Go here to start at the beginning