The River is Burning: The Life and Death of Brandon Teena
As the summer of my SIP progressed, it became clear to me that to try to fully capture what the life of Brandon Teena was and what took place on that day in 1993 when he was murdered, I would need to travel to the house where he had been murdered. The inexplicable need that I felt to be where he had been, to see what he had seen, is almost impossible to explain. I felt so drawn to him, to his story, to his life, that to not go to that place in which he had been brutally silenced, seemed unthinkable. I needed to go to Humboldt. It was about a two-hour drive from Omaha to Humboldt and from there, I had found vague directions online which I was desperately hoping were accurate and would guide me to the farmhouse. I will never forget the stone that sat at the pit of my stomach as I turned my car onto the same dirt-covered road that lead to the white farm house in the distance. I will never forget looking inside its abandoned walls and seeing what I'd been attempting to bring into focus for months. It was at that moment that I fully felt what I had decided months before: I needed to write this man, I needed to write this life.