I was dead. I didn’t want to wake up. I was dead again and if I could avoid waking up, I could stay dead. Still, silent, and sleeping.

But I woke up and I was alive again.

I don’t know how to say whether it was one death or many. I’m stretching the definition of “death” from common usage. Every heart beat, wing flutter, or vibration of the larynx is many pulses. A day is a month is a year in the life of a stone. I know that I was dead and it would have been better if I’d stayed that way, but I woke up and I was alive again.

Then I stayed very still and silent, because moving was too painful.

I thought, maybe I seem to be alive, but there is nothing here to grow.

But then the spring came.

And something grew.

Green sprouting leaves from seeds I thought were desiccated and void. Green shoots. Christ help me, flower buds. And then I made another picture of the radio and tried to shake the silt out of my head. How can I fathom doing this again? This doesn’t exist in the land of death I was walking in. How am I here? What’s happening?

Here and there, what I can access becomes a little more clear.

Everyone died. The radio died. The network died. I died.

Gut was laid waste; how long did I go without food? I was down to sips of water and then no water at all. (How long? Time has no length in those places.) 

I woke up (perhaps dozens of times) and I was alive.

I thought we were all dead.

Green shoots ferment. There could be a salad. I’m tired of words. I’m tired of dying repeatedly. I don’t want to go through it again. But I’m here. And I seem to be… broadcasting.

My whole experience is different, my self, my body, and the shapes of my brain. None of it is the same. Picking this up again as a new and different person is very strange.


‘ Coronavirus is turning life as we know it upside down, but the realities are different for everyone. And PublicSource wants to hear from you.
  Whether you’re someone in an ‘essential’ job — like a pharmacy worker, healthcare worker or grocery store clerk — or in a situation where your life is being put on hold, whether that’s school, a job or spending time with family members, you can share with PublicSource dispatches from your day or major changes that have occurred in your routine. We can also be your outlet to share concerns as well as positive things happening in your community. With all this social distancing, we’d love to see and/or hear you.
  You can email mila@publicsource.org a note or send photos you’d be ok with us publishing and write in the email about yourself and what the photo(s) represent. We are also able to pair you with a reporter if you’d be up for a conversation.
  You can also contact us at 412-212-6471 and leave a voice message.
  We are also looking for first-person essays: 1) If you have credentials to explain how we, non-experts, should process the impacts COVID-19 is having on healthcare, economy, housing and other aspects of our community, please write to us; 2) if you have a unique experience to share how you are navigating this unprecedented time, we’d love to hear from you.
  Help PublicSource share our community’s story and bring everyone closer together — even by virtual means. We appreciate everyone’s story and hope you and yours are well and safe. ‘


I and a group of others internationally are working on a community strengthening set of art projects referenced collectively as Intuitive Public Radio.

I am isolated with severe disability in Pittsburgh. 

I was born here, developed my career in a few other locations, and then was brought back here by my family after I survived being trafficked as a severely disabled person in Austin Texas.

IPR is a survivor-led initiative to bring the tool sets and expertise of Survivors of Severity directly into community with all others who can benefit.

We have strived for some years to help our projects reach more people in hardship and isolation who have been undeservedly excluded from community resources, so that every person can have somewhere to go for help, for connection, for personhood.

The novel coronavirus has awoken a lot of people, businesses, and organizations to the need for this work. 

My colleagues and I have become ‘accustomed’ to extreme health conditions and dying experiences that go on and on and on. (Almost everyone working together on this project is severely disabled and in threat of their lives on a day-to-day basis, long before the novel coronavirus.) But we have also created resources to support individuals in resilience through trauma, creative healing and recovery, and helping one another to workshop income streams.

Most recently, my digestion was completely shut down and it looked like I was not going to come back.

But it’s springtime, I’m alive, and I’m reading you this message.

Thank you for reaching out. It helps me repair some neurology ✨

Be safe and brave (!),




Waking up, reaching out – Pittsburgh, IPR