Author Name: Michelle Buckman
Contribution to Image and Likeness: “Movements”
Bio: Michelle Buckman is the author of six novels, including the award-winning Rachel’s Contrition. Although faith-based, her books tackle gritty life issues that place her readers in someone else’s shoes to face the gravity of life’s choices. Michelle’s writing has encompassed an array of avenues from being a newspaper columnist to senior managing editor of a business magazine. Nowadays, she is a copy editor for a NYC-based website as well as a freelance editor, while continuing to work on new novels. Walking the Carolina beaches is both her favorite pastime and greatest inspiration. Find Michelle on Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon.
How did you find yourself inspired to write this/these piece(s)?
My family and I used to live on a farm, and we often had to deal with the death of animals, which always raised questions of life and death. The emotions that built in me and that poured from my children during those situations culminated in “Movements.” As such, the story portrays the value of life stretched between a dying kitten and an infant moving in utero.
What drew you to writing about Theology of the Body in this way?
The world initially accepted abortion because people couldn’t see or feel the death of the child during the process. Nowadays there is no excuse—it’s all visible; it’s all understood. Nevertheless, they still march on as if blind.
I wrote MOVEMENTS long ago, before cameras showed the truth, and this story was intended to make that connection, to see and feel the death of an innocent as it struggles to live while succumbing to the murderous hands that hold it.
There is a lot of nonfiction out there on TOB, but the amount of fiction and poetry on the subject is certainly on the rise. What is it, do you think, about fiction and poetry that lend themselves to illustrating the tenets of the Theology of the Body?
Over recent decades, society has been slowly denigrating the body in every way possible. Fiction can dip back to more moral times in history or move forward to show the outcome of the current destructive path, as I do in my novel Death Panels. To that end, fiction can evoke messages that people of all walks of life will absorb in the course of a story that they would never accept through other avenues.
Some TOB stories and poems can be evangelization tools, and some can be messages of encouragement to those of us doing the evangelizing. Which do you think yours is, and why do you think that’s valuable to its audience?
“Movements” doesn’t evangelize as much as it slaps the reader in the face with a reality they may not have previously faced. Nothing is ever said about TOB in the story; it’s left to the reader to draw connections between the kitten and the baby.
It’s my understanding that your story “Movements” is related to one of your longer works. Can you tell us about that?
I never mention Gert’s name in my novel Rachel’s Contrition, but she is the mother of the main character, Rachel. So, if anyone wants to see how things turn out for Gert and her child, check out the novel. The two of them have a rough life that takes them down a far different path than Gert hopes to travel.
I never mention Gert’s sister, Dottie, in Rachel’s Contrition, but she would have been grown and gone before the memories that Rachel shares in the book.
Towards the end of “Movements,” you play with point of view, taking the camera off of your main character’s surroundings and refocusing perspective on the father of her unborn child. What made you make that point of view choice at that point in the story, and what do you think it signifies for the reader?
My stories always deal with the realities of life, and in the case of Johnny’s inserted point of view, the reality is that the people around us all have their own priorities and agendas, which don’t always coincide with our own. So, despite Gert’s plans for the future, she must deal with Johnny’s decision, just as Gert’s mother had to deal with her rebelliousness, and ultimately Rachel (in Rachel’s Contrition) has to deal with where that takes her.