A casual fireside conversation about the placenta with a new friend last summer inspired a wonderful short story about studying placenta. It’s by Chris Benjamin, author of the new novel Drive-by Saviours. The story is a wonderful mashup of worlds… just like the placenta is a mashup of biological and social worlds occupied by mother, father, and fetus. I’m utterly impressed at Chris’ insight into this enigmatic organ which is typically so little understood and appreciated, and a little tickled that my commentary on the placenta reached into the world of literature. An excerpt from the story:
“Well,” she said, “Thank God I don’t work with the Kaili of Central Sulawesi. I’d never get the chance to study a placenta if everybody buried them.”
I smiled and nodded, wondered if she was perhaps a bit crazy. I hoped so. Crazy women liked me.
“I’m a placental scientist,” she said.
I nodded, as if that was only natural, but the revelation shocked me. “Small world,” I said. “I study ethnographic interpretations of the placenta.”
“Um, I study various indigenous cultures and their treatments of the placenta. What it means to them and what they do with it.”
“Fascinating,” she said.
Chris is always looking for avenues to publish material like this. Contact him here.