Rowan Hisayo Buchanan on the Battle in Our Own Brains
In Conversation with Brad Listi on Otherppl
Rowan Hisayo Buchanan is this week’s guest. Her new novel, Starling Days, is now available from Overlook Press.
From the episode:
Rowan Hisayo Buchanan: In some ways, the book opened with the idea of what happens if you love someone and they’re having the battle with their brain and what happens if you’re having a battle with your brain and you’re trying to hold onto this precious relationship in your life.
I think one of the reasons that obsessed me so much is the ways in which we as a society often both talk about mental health as being important and use it as a way to dismiss people. You know, despite having had mental health crises myself, I have found myself saying, oh, that person is just crazy when actually what I mean is that person is just irrational or they’re behaving in a way that I think doesn’t make sense, but it’s in our language and it’s something that I’ve tried very hard to push out of my vocabulary… but it’s taken a while. I still sometimes slip up, but that formulation implies that person’s story is not interesting because they’re quotes crazy. We don’t have to pay attention. We don’t have to listen, but that story is very interesting. The battle in your own brain is a battle and it’s one worth taking time over.
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Rowan Hisayo Buchanan the author of Harmless Like You, winner of The Authors’ Club First Novel Award and a Betty Trask Award. It was a New York Times Editors’ Choice and an NPR 2017 Great Read. Her short work has appeared in several places including Granta, Guernica, The Guardian, The Harvard Review, and NPR’s Selected Shorts. She lives in London.