Elevate Difference

Grit and Tender Membrane

Both a teacher and an inspiration to women worldwide, Barrow received a Leeway grant to tour via motorcycle, tell her stories and hold workshops for other female survivors of sexual abuse. She advocates poetry as a way to express difficult moments, get her metaphorical demons out and as a means of catharsis and rebirth. She started writing because she "wanted to be understood." In Grit and Tender Membrane, it seems poetry was a platform where she could take painful moments and craft them into a form of expression to transcend her not-so-perfect past.

In her autobiographical book, Barrow crafts her words honestly, unabashedly, and without shame. Her voice is that of a strong woman, the victim of a sex crime and an individual using her words as sharp, powerful insights into defining life moments. Grit and Tender Membrane weaves painful tales of molestation with lighthearted tales of hilarity. Barrow intertwines her stories together flawlessly waffling from prose to poetry, near diary entries and passages that almost seem like letters. Her writings, some dated, mark her thoughts as she passes through different states: California, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia and Mississippi among others.

Barrow demonstrates her keen sense of observation of others and herself. Her voice is that of a woman who has the ability to make the intangible become tangible right before our very eyes. Barrow's book maintains the idea of hope despite painful memories, a kind of hope that can vanquish former tribulations and make way for a new, bright future. Truly inspiring, Grit and Tender Membrane epitomizes a metamorphosis, an example of light born from darkness.

Written by: Lauren Begnaud, March 5th 2007