Featured photograph by Len dela Cruz via Unsplash.
I was born a little after midnight in the summer of 1993, nearly three months earlier than expected. I weighed less than two pounds at birth and spent the first few months of my life in an incubator. The machine kept me alive by tending to all the needs my undeveloped body couldn’t meet for itself. Tubes pumped nutrition and oxygen into me, and a plastic enclosure kept me warm and protected me from the infections that my immature immune system wouldn’t have been able to fight off. My parents were required to wear gloves and reach through the incubator’s circular apertures when they wanted to touch their new baby. There was some uncertainty as to whether I would survive—as with any premature infant—but I soon outgrew the mechanical womb and embraced the wider world.
Now dragging myself up the long learning curve of adulthood, I’ve begun to envy the warm isolation in which my newborn self mustered the fortitude life requires. Don’t take that literally; other than to visit sick relatives, I haven’t been in a hospital since infancy, and I’ve never contracted anything more serious than a cold. This time I need a mental, rather than physical, retreat. So welcome to The Incubator, a semi-private space intended to provide for my mind the protection and cultivation that its namesake once offered my body. I say semi-private because I understand that this shelter for my fledgling writing is mostly illusory. The cacophony of more powerful voices resounding across the world wide web can never be completely shut out. But, like the reaching fingers of my parents and nurses many years ago, I hope you’ll be gentle.
More specificity than that vague metaphor can supply might not be possible at this time. It is integral to this project that my blog remain elastic, capable of stretching to house whatever form or subject matter I wish to tackle. Let my interests serve as a fairly reliable indicator of what topics I’m most likely to consider here. Having recently completed a four-year course focused mostly on centuries-old novels and poetry, I’m far more intrigued by nonfiction and contemporary writing at the moment. Another major benefit of being freed from the tyranny of the canon is that I can focus on the work of artists who have more in common with me: women, people of color, and queer humans of all sorts. Expect thorough analyses of multiple different forms of contemporary artistic production sprinkled with my own embryonic attempts at self-expression and storytelling, but don’t be too disappointed if I don’t meet that expectation. I still have plenty of growing to do. If all goes according to plan, I will outgrow this little outlet in time. After all, the purpose of an incubator is to give one the strength to leave it.