In Memoriam

I am so sad to have to report that our dedicated, tireless web designer and publisher Barbara Brust has died. Barbara designed the Dark Matter site in 2014 and stayed with us through ten issues, holding my hand and soothing my technophobic nerves all the while. It was no secret during those years that increasingly her real passion was providing for Berkeley’s homeless population. They could not have found a better friend or champion. Kristin and I will always be grateful to Barbara for the competence, care, and kindness she brought to her work with us. For myself, I can’t quite believe I’ll never again get to hear that deep bossy voice with the big Bronx accent.

Photo of Kim Chernin

Kim Chernin, a two-time contributor to this journal, died on December 17, after two strokes and a fall which landed her in rehab. There she contracted COVID, at the age of 80. I want to recognize Kim in this issue, not only because she was a friend (also the best editor I ever had) and a fan of Dark Matter, but because her book Reinventing Eve, the third in her trilogy about women and eating disorders, is such a profound meditation on what I’ve since come to call “othered” ways of knowing and how difficult it can be to embrace them. It reached deep inside me when I first read it in 1989, still in recovery from years of graduate school. “… I was afraid to lose what I then regarded as my principal achievement. I was a woman who had learned how to reason abstractly… I did not want to think that stones were alive. I did not want the logical categories through which I ordered the world to break down and desert me.”

In her writing for Dark Matter, “Mother of Us, A Prayer for Healing” and the poem “A Stuttering Kind of Worship”, each remarkable in its own way, worship and kinship have clearly become cherished ways of knowing for Kim. In the notes to “A Stuttering Kind of Worship” she wrote: “I felt that nature was teaching me to recognize the inseparable bond of our human life with the life of nature and that in this kinship life’s meaning became abundantly apparent. Life was meaningful because of the way we were tied into everything. All the poetry I have written arises from this enchanted conviction of kinship, which so often brings me to a sense of breathless awe and a stuttering kind of worship.”

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