The Diana Woods Memorial Award in Creative Nonfiction
Issue 21: Summer/Fall 2022
The Girl with the Turquoise Eye-Shadow
by Nimisha Kantharia
Special Guest Judge, Meredith Talusan
“Every surgeon has a graveyard that they visit. It is filled with the names and faces and sundry details of those who died on their watch, the patients they could not save.” More than a story of illness from a surgeon’s perspective, “The Girl With the Turquoise Eyeshadow” is a stunning account of life’s vicissitudes as human beings encounter each other in hard times. Rather than simple moralisms or easy answers, this essay dwells in the necessary contradictions of the doctor-patient relationship, its simultaneous intimacy and distance, the expectations doctors have from their patients and themselves that they can never fully fulfill, the necessity of both accountability and self-forgiveness. Like so many great essays, “The Girl With the Turquoise Eyeshadow” describes specific people, a specific place and time, yet offers so much insight into the simple, unbearably complex condition of being a human among humans.
Meredith Talusan is the author of the critically-acclaimed memoir Fairest from Viking/Penguin Random House, a Lambda Literary Award Finalist. She is also an award-winning journalist who has written for The Guardian, The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Nation, WIRED, SELF, and Condé Nast Traveler, among many other publications, and has contributed to several collections of essays and fiction. She has received awards from GLAAD, The Society of Professional Journalists, and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. She is also the founding executive editor of them, Condé Nast’s LGBTQ+ digital platform, where she is currently contributing editor.
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