Author: Iris Graville

As a writer, I strive to give voice to the untold stories of ordinary people. Those stories are often the most extraordinary and the most meaningful. I got my first taste of the thrill of helping people tell their stories as a feature writer for my high school newspaper in a small town in southern Illinois. Years later, as a nurse in Indiana and Washington, I listened to peopleís stories in hospital rooms, exam rooms, and homes. I experienced an uncommon intimacy as they shared their fears, hopes, grief, and pain. I knew my listening supported healing. Twenty-five years later, disillusioned with the changes in health care, I shifted my work from caregiving to storytelling. Iíve written about homesteaders in Mexico, hurricane survivors in Nicaragua, senior citizens in my rural community, and life in a remote mountain village.

I never know who or what might call to me for telling, but Iíve learned to heed those stirrings of a good story. Hands at Work was inspired by a showing of Summer Moon Scriverís black-and-white photographs of hands. Her images of strong, weathered, soiled, muscled hands digging potatoes, knitting, kneading dough, and spinning wool suggested to me a passion for the kinds of work that have become rare for many Americans. These were photographs of people nourished by manual labor. I immediately wanted to give voice to their stories and to others who work with their hands.

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For more of my work see: Chimera Gallery and Shark Reef Literary Magazine.