“In the beginning is an interruption,” Arthur Frank writes. “Disease interrupts a life, and illness then means living with perpetual interruption.” Disease interrupts because it calls to consciousness life's precariousness. And interruption demands provisionality. That is, a willingness to hold a truth in suspension, to hold it lightly, knowing change will come, knowing interruption is inevitable, and yet one still needs to act: to teach, and to write, and to live. Therefore, in this essay I consider how provisionality plays a role in my practice as a literary scholar, as a writer, as a teacher, and as a care-giver. Specifically, I aim to consider how, over the last two years of my parents’ lives, I turned to the provisional as a way to hold together, if only for isolated moments, different stories, different domains of knowledge, and different versions of myself.



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