Today I met some folks at my wonderful hostel in Nagasaki and we tromped through the temples lining the mountains in the city. I’ve never seen anything like it– the graves and statues seem more like part of the forest itself than a man-made thing. As if nature is slowly reclaiming the dead. I also almost broke my neck three times slipping on the mossy stone steps, but I lived to tell the tale.
I had dreams of updating more regularly, but the reality is that I am a very sleepy human. I update my Instagram about twice a day, so that’s the most surefire way to see updates!
Here is a photo of Takachiho Gorge, though. (I’ll refrain from the pun [so difficult for me], and say it was beautiful.)
In case any of you are in the Tokyo area in the middle of April (ha!), I’ll be doing a reading at the International House of Japan, the organization that is hosting the NEA fellows.
Delighted to be able to discuss race and writing in this round table. Published in the Superstition Review.
Was interviewed by the Chicago Reader after I spoke at a Writers Resist event in Logan Square:
Other readers, including Doro Boehme of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and National Endowment for the Arts recipient Jami Nakamura Lin, committed their time onstage to recalling past horrors, domestically and abroad. Lin told the story of her ancestors who were subjugated to American internment camps, while Boehme read from the trial transcripts of White Rose, an intellectual resistance group in Nazi Germany. “I do admit that I have been this frightened about the state of the world only once before: growing up in Germany through the end of the Cold War period, situated dead center in the range of U.S. and Russian missiles,” Boehme said.
Lin’s larger ongoing project, a parabolic novel populated with Japanese folklore, responds to what happened to her family during World War II. “People wonder why I’m so obsessed with mythology, since they’re just made-up stories from long ago,” Lin said. “But myths are a reflection of a society’s fears, and myths are prevalent today. Look at our ‘postfactual’ society, filled with all this fake news. What is fake news? Myths! We’re doing the exact same thing: creating stories to demonize people who are different, to prey on fear.”
One noticeable aspect of the lineup at Speak Up/Warm Up was a lack of white men. The loaded term “identity politics” is one you won’t see embraced within this community. “That term is mostly used derisively by those who think questions of identity should be amputated from whatever issue is at hand,” Lin said.
Some Yubaba for you all.
My newest piece of flash fiction can be found in [PANK] magazine. This piece was one of my 15-Minute Fairy Tales– I asked my friends and colleagues for five words and an image, and crafted a fairy tale using all of those items in fifteen minutes.
I have little over a week before I leave the farm, and one of our most exciting things is happening tomorrow– Straw Hat Wearin’ Artist Farmers: 2013 Resident Artist Show!
(I also made some silly “business cards” to leave strategically around the gallery.)
Our gallery opening is tomorrow, and the space is beautiful and open. Basically this would be my dream loft (second only to the fire station that Anne Hathaway inhabits in The Princess Diaries movie).
And up on the wall is a piece I created called “Tactiles.”
Well, our heirloom tomatoes are bumper right now, so the obvious thing to do is make sauce with everything from the garden.
First we collected a whole bunch of these guys, and some of the garlic that’s been drying in the barn.
And some of the onions. So much crying in the kitchen (although now nearly as much as when we were digging up the scallions earlier this week. I thought I was dying).
Fresh basil and oregano…
Twenty cloves of garlic for our four batches of sauce. Kim made three batches, since she’s freezing most of it, and I made one, since I’m a new-sauce-maker and I didn’t want to ruin a million jars, just in case.
First we had to peel all the tomatoes (48 tomatoes!) so we dropped them all in boiling water for less than a minute, then dunked them in ice water. That makes the skin split so they can be peeled easily.
Peeling and coring all those tomatoes.
Chopping up the oregano and basil– so much prettier when it’s not dried and in those little red shakers!
The sauce had to simmer for two hours, then we added a bit of brown sugar and merlot, and then simmer for another hour. In total, including the chopping and prepping time, it was a five hour ordeal.
After we let it sit overnight, it was finished! I got a little over five of these jars. Delish.