Understanding Right and Wrong

It was only when I realized that I was a slave and not a slaver’s apprentice that I understood that what Archie was doing was a great wrong. Right and wrong had no meaning in my life until I was almost a woman. I learned some of it from my father, but he was not a talkative man. I began to understand when I knew the horsewomen, but I could never see it the way they did. They didn’t know what I knew.

The Book of Flora (The Road to Nowhere 3) by Meg Elison

The Story Is All We Have

I cannot begin at the beginning; I wasn’t there. I cannot even begin at one particular moment in time; I do not remember how this got started. Neither does anybody else. We only know the story we are given, unless someone writes the truth of it down. And even then, it isn’t the whole truth. Only theirs. As this is mine.

I can only tell you what was told to me, and most of that was probably lies. The person who told me who I was and showed me my place in the world very seldom told the truth. I still believe that telling the story from the beginning is the only way to do it.

Whether it is true or not, it is the only story I have.

My name is Flora. This book is my life.

The Book of Flora (The Road to Nowhere 3) by Meg Elison

Books are Fragile

But books are so fragile. Paper and leather and wood cannot stand up to fire or water or time.

And there is one thing I know is true in this world: only what is remembered survives. Only what is written has a chance in the future. People forget. Rivers rise. Stories and songs are snuffed out every time some town takes a fever or loses to a man with a little power.

Destruction is common. Creation is rare.

Because I know this truth, I must do two things. First, I must collect and keep as many pieces of record and evidence as I can, to ensure that they do not pass out of this world. Second, I must write my own record so that it survives. I must write the people in my life into the record as well, just as the Midwife did, so that they survive, too. I sometimes do as she did, putting the book into their hands. I write it for them. I did it more when I was younger. I trusted too much then.

The Book of Flora (The Road to Nowhere 3) by Meg Elison

Destruction vs Creation

In my dream, I was there when they took it. They burned houses and fields. They caught women and children and tied them up like cattle; they cut men down where they stood. They took apart the careful work of more than a hundred years in so little time.

Destruction is easy. Creation is so much harder.

Nowhere wasn’t much, but it was the first place I felt free. It was imperfect, but it was as if there was a piece of me waiting there, ready to join the whole, that I hadn’t even known about. I suppose that is why I dream it still.

The Book of Flora (The Road to Nowhere 3) by Meg Elison