Acts of Love – Seni Seneviratne

My memoir piece, Acts of Love is now posted in full on the Tangled Roots website.  Here’s how it begins:

I am known in my family as the official archivist. I collect everything – photographs, anecdotes, lists of names on shipping lists, soldiers passbooks, old letters, postcards, inscriptions on headstones. It’s as if they are scraps of cloth – calico, muslin, silk, wool, linen, cotton – some brightly coloured and full of detail, others so threadbare that I can hold them up to the light and see through them. Like a seamstress, with intuition as my magic thread, I patch all the facts together and embellish them with detail. My family’s story is like a quilt, stories inside stories and one thing next to another in no particular order. You can run your hands over it and delight in its varied textures but you must take care. There are stray pins that might catch your fingers. When you look at it as a whole, they are barely visible, so small compared to everything else. I have left them in because they are part of the story.

I am also known as the nearly-lost baby. The one who almost didn’t make it from the womb to the world. The one who features in many a family story. The story is a mixture of miracle and medicine, of superstition and science, and who or what gets the credit for my survival varies according to whose version of events you rely on.

Read the full story here