Award-winning writer Esmé Wang knows from personal experience how tough it is to be ambitious and deal with limitation. She is a woman who lives with chronic illness, including late-stage Lyme disease and schizoaffective disorder. She believes that just because one lives with limitations — whether they be caregiving responsibilities, disability, chronic illness, or any other life circumstance that cause you to feel fenced in, doesn’t mean a person can’t leave a legacy of creative resilience.
Esmé Weijun Wang is a novelist and essayist. Her debut novel, The Border of Paradise, was called a Best Book of 2016 by NPR and one of the 25 Best Novels of 2016 by Electric Literature. She was named by Granta as one of the “Best of Young American Novelists” in 2017, and is the recipient of the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize for her forthcoming essay collection, The Collected Schizophrenias. In her blog, The Unexpected Shape, she provides resources that assist ambitious people who live with limitations.
In this conversation, Branden and Esmé tackle the question of why people living with illness need both the practice and living-out of resilience in their daily lives — and how boundaries laid out in life’s game can make things more interesting.
“The reason why games are interesting is because of the limitations that are set in place.”
— Ésme Wang