Melanie P. Moore’s essay “Invisible Woman: A Reflection on Being Seen in America” appeared in the Fall 2020 issue of The Georgia Review. Moore is a writer living in Austin, Texas. A graduate of the University of Georgia with an MA from Georgia State University, she was previously the founder and executive director of Badgerdog Literary Publishing, where, with a talented team and key community support, she started Austin’s first writers-in-the-schools program (now a program of the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation) and re-launched American Short Fiction after personally acquiring the defunct journal from the University of Texas Press in 2003. Her work has appeared in Atlanta Magazine, Creative Loafing, and Austin Travels Magazine, among other publications. Here, she discusses her experience of working with our editors to prepare “Invisible Woman” for publication.
GR: Tell us a little bit about this work. Is it a part of a larger project or practice?
Melanie P. Moore (MPM): My essay, about the power and dangers of visibility for marginalized Americans, was shaped from sections of my memoir—the story of having a non-elective hysterectomy at sixteen and suppressing my homosexuality to fit into Southern religious culture. The idea to make an essay from the sections on race came about because I saw the current moment of racial violence as yet another unveiling of the bigotry that has always been here.
GR: Was there a moment in your editorial exchange with The Georgia Review editors during which you felt like the essay started to do something new?
MPM: Working with the editors, not only did the essay change quite a bit, but the memoir, which uses the lenses of sexuality, faith, and illness for an upside-down coming-of-age story, gained a new structure in revision as a result. I’ve come to see that the opposite of visibility is not invisibility but security, just as the opposite of faith is not doubt but fear. Douglas Carlson, C. J. Bartunek, and Gerald Maa were respectful of my work and friendly in their communications. Every suggestion made the essay better, a true collaboration—my favorite way to work.
GR: Since this publication, what other Georgia Review piece(s) have you enjoyed? How has your experience with TGR helped you think about your future writing and reading?
MPM: I keep returning to the Summer 2021 issue in particular. I love that every issue contains fiction, poetry, essays, reviews, and art that I enjoy and that can make me uncomfortable—the best of the reading experience. As a reader published by a journal I admire (it was a “moonshot” submission for me in the first place!), I’ve found both a new humility and confidence in my writing practice.