Side A: “The Borg EP,” a comic by Rachel Busnardo

The Borg EP

Mini-interview with Rachel Busnardo

HFR: Can you share a moment that has shaped you as a writer (or continues to)?

RB: There are lots of moments that have shaped me as a writer, some big, but many were very, very small little pin pricks throughout my life. This piece fell out of me when I was remembering the impact Star Trek: The Next Generation had on me as a child. When Jean-Luc Picard became Locutus of Borg, I couldn’t imagine a worse fate than having to assimilate to a hive of half-machine, half-human beings. I’ve returned to that borg episode often. Much of my writing is inspired by TV and video games (in graduate school, I was obsessed with writing Skyrim poems). These two mediums have always been there for me when I needed them most.

HFR: What are you reading?

RB: I’m always reading several things at the same time. I’ve been turning to nonfiction and sci-fi lately. Right now I’m reading

  • Academic Ableism: Disability and Higher Education by Jay T. Dolmage
  • Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism by Amanda Montell
  • A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

HFR: Can you tell us what prompted “The Borg EP”?

RB: Yes! This piece is part of a series of borg comics and poems I’ve been working on for a very long time. The series is autobiographical and speaks to my experience with invisible disabilities. I wanted to use the borg as a vehicle to convey the frustration associated with conformity and how conformity silences us. People with disabilities conform to a world that doesn’t value them every day. In that sense, there’s some borg that lives in me. There’s also some of what I’m calling “not borg.” Individuality, or the absence of borg, is “not borg.” It’s a constant negotiation between the two. Like I said earlier, as a child I couldn’t imagine a worse fate than having to assimilate into the borg collective. Now I realize how much I truly assimilate every day (at work, at school, at life) and the silence that accompanies that. This is why 01101001 (or “i”) never speaks. She simply fades away in the end as the borg take everything from her.

HFR: What’s next? What are you working on?

RB: Just like my reading habits, I’m working on several things simultaneously! The Borg EP is a series I’ve nested in a manuscript of poems about old sci-fi movies. I just started another manuscript of poems on sorrow. I’ve also been tinkering around with a space opera. Who knows if I’ll ever finish any of these projects. I just want to feel joy. When a project feels like work, I put it down. When it’s too painful, I step back.

HFR: Take the floor. Be political. Be fanatical. Be anything. What do you want to share?

RB: Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated.  

Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated.  

Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated.  

Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated.  

Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated.  

Rachel Busnardo’s work has appeared in DIAGRAM, Best New Poets 2020, DREGINALD, and elsewhere. When she’s not writing, she paints.

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