My new article about climate change and displacement is up at Guernica.
I ask Admassu what he thinks was the cause of this drastic weather change. He shrugs. “We must ask Jesus,” he says. I ask if he’d ever heard of climate change. This term perplexes even Teddy. “It’s the idea,” I say, “that because of pollution in the air, the weather is changing. It’s getting too hot.” As Teddy translates, Admassu shakes his head. “He says,” says Teddy, “That this maybe happens in other places, but not where he is coming from. His town is very beautiful, very clean air. So that cannot be the problem for these people. It must be something else.”
Though humans are confined to borders, climate change knows no boundaries. How could Admassu’s home, with its once-thriving fields and clean air, be responsible for its own demise? The answer, of course, is that it’s not.
I'm so excited to be working with Refugee Transitions, the great Bryant Terry, and one of my oldest friends, Dani Fisher, on a multimedia narrative cookbook project:
As refugee families resettle and adapt to their new homes, food is a primary mainstay connecting them to their history and cultural traditions. This project will use recipes, personal stories, and cultural artifacts to share the histories, struggles, and accomplishments of fifteen Bay Area refugee women, preserve cultural knowledge from their home countries, and highlight their expertise as caregivers and cooks. The resulting “story-based people’s cookbook” will be available in print and online, and will be accompanied by a wide range of public programming activities.
A huge thank you to the California Council for the Humanities' Community Stories fund.
I recently learned that my story "Just a Cupful," set in New Mexico, was a finalist for Narrative Magazine's "30 Below" contest. It was inspired by the first trip I ever took to New Mexico in 2003, and written the last time I was there about a year and a half ago. There's something about that state that cracks me open to write. Just last week, I got to drive through that miraculous landscape again on a slight detour from Boston back to the Bay. Sure enough, I wrote another story in my mind as we traced our way through the backroads and the low, thick light of November. Here's to hoping my story finds a home, soon--though it didn't seem much to matter out on those limb-like stretches of tarmac and dust and dirt, where we collected wooden roses.