Issue 19.4 of DIAGRAM gives us “Call of Duty,” a riveting essay that explores the juxtaposition of needing and wanting. In this piece, Amy Long shares her experience with the unintended effects caused by opioid addicts for those who truly need the medicine and the lengths she went to in order to find relief from her own pain. Through beautiful and sharp phrases such as “I’ve betrayed the one person who really trusts me,” “I don’t want to turn into that patient,” and “I don’t lose everything. I don’t lose anything,” we get a sense of the narrator’s pain and the mask that she puts on and lives with in order to keep the trust of the people who matter most to her.
As most essays in DIAGRAM, Long’s relies on form and structure to move deeper the fear of judgement and misunderstanding. The essay comprises words, printed and cut up, that have been scanned onto paper in unique designs. Glassine envelopes are replicated in the story as well, providing more words, thoughts, and stories that are kept safely at first, but eventually spill freely onto the page. Stories such as these cannot be contained. We see, too, that through the use of font size, italics, wisely placed words, and bolding, Long remains apprehensive about the revelation of such truths; she still struggles with making any sense out of them. Only by letting the story spill out of the glassine packet does she even begin to make sense of what has happened to her body, her health, and her future.
Review by Tyler Hurst