I have been an herbalist since earliest childhood, but I have closer-than-comfort experience with prescription psychotropic medications. I’m a scholar of ancient Indo-European languages, but I’ve lived all my adult life in the New World. I believe we are interdependent, we need each other, and together we rise, but I’m a hermit.
I’m a certifiable “grammar bitch”/stickler, but I don’t believe in prescriptive grammar at all except when we’re creating a text and want it to be beautiful and professional. I adore my multilayer awareness of word histories, but at the same time I do not deplore misshapen neologisms or changes in spoken grammar.
I’m a dietary zealot, but only for myself; in fact, I have many dietary restrictions, but I’m willing and able to prepare just about any food a person could ask for. (One exception: I have made it my policy not to work with gluten for my safety as a celiac; no more dust masks!) I understand what’s wholesome and what isn’t, but I also understand that an individual can be allergic to (poisoned by) a wholesome food and that there’s a time and place for the other-than-wholesome.
To wit, most of my life was an effort to transcend, minimize, and do without my body, to become pure spirit and light; but the only way that I’ve been able to anchor light and spirit has been within my body; and for all my knowledge and experience and detective work, all my listening and counseling, perhaps the most profound help I’ve ever been able to give another person has been through making them food and through placing my hands on their bellies (Chi Nei Tsang).
I work as an academic translator, but I also do social media for clients. The resonances carried on individual words steer every aspect of my life experience, but I spend a significant amount of time every day moving into the place beyond words. I compose poetry, but then I neglect to write it down and it’s lost. I have to work at the computer, but I have to go out and gather herbs.
Sometimes I remember the future; sometimes I run into the past. I am Hermes/Mercury, but my family were goldsmiths. I am a funnel, a bridge, an interpreter.
Ela Harrison is a wordsmith: writer, poet, translator, editor, researcher, interpreter of etymologies and ancient languages, as well as a lover of wild plants, enthusiast of herbs and permaculture, student of natural medicine, and anchoress of the interplay of etymology, biology, and holistic healing.
She holds an MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry and Nonfiction) from Pacific Lutheran University's Rainier Writing Workshop, and Masters' degrees in Classical (Greek and Latin) Literature from UC Berkeley and from Oxford, and in Linguistics from Stanford University and from Oxford.
She is an experienced academic editor and translator, and also an experienced literary/developmental editor and translator and ghostwriter.
She is also an experienced chef, particularly for special diets, and she provides nutritional counseling and coaching. She is a Chi Nei Tsang practitioner.
Her essays, poems, and book reviews have been published in the New England Review, the Georgia Review, the Georgia Review Blog, Cirque Journal, and F Magazine.
"What's constant is the shift. I live between."