Nick Bryant

Interview with Nick Bryant

In 2009, when Nick Bryant’s book, The Franklin Scandal: A Story of Powerbrokers, Child Abuse and Betrayal came out, I immediately ordered a copy. When it arrived, more than 600 pages of it, I dove in with excited anticipation which all too quickly became a slow slog. Its complexity, its journalistic imperative, and its fastidious attention to detail—all the things that name it authentic and critically important—stopped me in my tracks. My survivor mind couldn’t cope with its objectivity, its compelling and sequential truth. My cognitive allegiance was to the survivors and the inchoate and inarticulate truth of their struggle. Bryant was writing about the legal logistics of horrendous crimes against children and the resulting cover-up. In the Franklin Scandal he details the real-time unfolding of the attempts, heroic and dogged on the parts of those who tried to bring justice to light, as well as on the parts of those doing everything possible to thwart justice and destroy survivors. It is a legal playbook that illuminates shocking miscarriages of justice and callous and conniving cover-up. But I couldn’t read it. I couldn’t track it. Continue reading


Disinformation and DID: the Politics of Memory

This article was originally published on and other sites, but we thought it important enough to republish here in our first issue. -Eds.

This essay is not meant to be comprehensive. Instead it is the attempt to connect some dots that are rarely considered or discussed—hopefully providing a new way to view the politics of memory and of DID in particular. It is designed to generate discussion and suggest areas of further study. There is an old saying: “Don’t bite my finger—look where I am pointing.”
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In the News

Over but the Shouting

Thirty years ago, when I was enrolled in a Women’s Studies course, we devised a little experiment/study. We (all women) sat on a low wall adjacent to a busy sidewalk on campus and cat-called men as they walked by. Further down the block, one of our classmates stopped the victims and asked them to fill out a questionnaire about the experience. The results were inconclusive, not surprisingly, given that it was such an anomalous event. Most of them expressed shock or surprise more than anything else. Street harassment has long been a topic of study and outrage for feminists, but if my memory is at all to be trusted, it’s never gained this level of attention.

The video below went viral this past week. It generated a great deal of commentary, from NPR, to blogs, tweets, and points in between. I read some valid criticisms of the piece itself, but I also saw a lot of confusion, predictably over what, exactly, constitutes harassment. Continue reading


Who We Are: Janet Thomas

For this first issue, as a means to further introduce you to Borne, we thought to offer you selections of our own work. -Eds.

Janet Thomas is an author, editor, playwright, and teacher. Over the last few years, she’s traveled to India to teach the art of memoir writing. Below is an excerpt of her 2011 Nautilus Award winning book.

Day Breaks Over DharamsalaDay Breaks Over Dharamsala, A Memoir of Life Lost and Found

Chapter 10

For more than twenty years I have wrestled with, and been wrestled by, the truth. When I collapsed in the middle of my kitchen between Christmas and New Year’s, 1984, I had no idea that I was falling off the edge of my world. I had no idea that the inner framework of my life was imploding, and that the rest of my life would become a psychological reconstruction zone. The moment was visceral and paralyzing. I could no longer make my self up. But it would be years before I could even begin to describe what happened to me. And the way in to my truth was through lies. Continue reading


Who We Are: Lynn Schirmer

For this first issue, as a means to further introduce you to Borne, we thought to offer you selections of our own work. -Eds.

The works included here are typical, drawing is my primary medium, but I also paint and make sculpture. Continue reading

From the Editor

Introducing Borne

Welcome to Borne, an online journal exploring the landscape of systemic personal, cultural, societal, and global oppression and its impacts upon person, place, and possibility. Our goal is to invite a broad dialogue rooted in the strength and wisdom of those who have experienced first-hand the darkness of oppression, as well as its partner, the undying light of freedom in the human spirit.

The definition of Borne is: “To bear, and to be carried or transported by…”

We all bear the burden of birthing a global society based on respect, acceptance, and that four-letter word, love. Loving who we are is the beginning and the end of love’s challenge. In between rests love for all sentient beings, and all life on earth. Connecting to the creative and unrelenting impetus of life as it generates itself throughout the universe means connecting to inner personal life and its ever-unfolding possibilities. When we heal ourselves, we begin to heal the earth. When we heal the earth, we begin to heal ourselves. When we create, we are created. There is no separation. We are continually being Borne-again, bearing one another, and being borne by one another, coming together to transform the isolation of suffering–of person and planet–into a river of light that bears us all into the sea of grace and possibility. And it all comes down to story: Who are we? What do we know? How do we know it? Where does it lead us? Why does it matter? These are the questions that matter in these dark times, the questions that let the light in.

The Borne collective is also developing workshops and conferences that inform and inspire. Our Borne-again belief is that surviving extreme trauma can result in extreme wisdom as well as compassion for others and passion for truth and justice. Survivors often get sidelined in life because of their history; we believe that survivors who explore the depths of healing surface as warriors for life and that we have the responsibility to share our wisdom, compassion and passion with others. Being a survivor is not about being sidelined–it’s about be empowered and empowering others. We live in beleaguered times–a Global Age of Abuse and a Global Culture of Denial. The spiritual, emotional, psychological, intellectual, and political insights we gain through our healing are needed in every way possible.

We invite you to join us on this journey, to bear witness to one another, and to the ever-unfolding gifts that life offers as it bears us forward in healing, even as we face, and are faced by, the darkest oppression of our times.

Welcome aboard. Hang on for the ride. Make a few waves. Turn the tide.

From the Editor

What to Expect

Challenging Subject Matter

The “landscape of systemic personal, cultural, societal, and global oppression” may sadly appear without horizon, but we will most often narrow our focus to familiar ground. This ground covers, but is not limited to, crimes of the state in Western nations and their intersections with private organized and corporate criminal networks, non-state torture, trafficking, and human experimentation, and how these hidden realities affect the general condition of our world, and our day to day lives. You’ll hear directly from survivors and from researchers and advocates who’ve spent years recovering, exploring, and investigating, and who are  considered experts in their still marginalized fields.

Quality Writing

We will deliver it, as close as we are able, in form and substance. I gratefully rely on my co-editor Janet who offers no small mastery of form. My particular concern is with substance, specifically accuracy. When a subject is shrouded in mystery, or secrecy by design, it is far too easy to grasp hard at speculation, and in some cases, get lost in webs of fantasy. There is so much disinformation surrounding the subjects of our interest, it’s imperative to present information that can be verified, and to be clear when that is not possible, and what it means. For those of us who’ve been lost in the darkness at times, when all else fails, tests of simple logic may offer a way out, as well as a comfort with ambivalence.

Great Art

There is perhaps no better evidence of the light of freedom in the human spirit than creative expression. Our symbolic languages have the power to validate, affirm, and uplift. They can transmit, in alternate form, emotions, thoughts, and deeds that are otherwise unspeakable. I look forward to introducing you to works by courageous, but little known artists, poets, writers, and others who should, in a cultural landscape governed by different values, be well known.

I hope you enjoy Borne, though perhaps enjoyment may come only in tangent to discovery and empowerment, which are of greater lasting impact.