I’m honored to have my personal essay, “No Firm Ground,” in the 30th anniversary edition of War, Literature & the Arts. I’ve admired this journal for a long time, and it has been a pleasure to work with them.
I’m thrilled and grateful to have two new pieces out this week. My poem, “Fat Tuesday in Samsara,” has been published by Lunch Ticket, the literary journal of Antioch University Los Angeles. The idea for the piece was sparked during a brunch with fellow writer Nicole Lawrence, when we noted that Mardi Gras and the Tibetan New Year took place on the same day this year.
My essay, “In Search of Duende: A Bosnian War Memoir,” appears in Fanzine today. In it, I describe some memories from my Bosnian childhood and look through another writer’s memoir of the Bosnian War. The piece was difficult to write, and I hope to explore some of the feelings it raised in future work.
I took the morning to read and think and sit on the patio of a corner café, and I started Charles Simic’s essay collection, The Life of Images. I’ve always found Simic to be a comforting, solid thinker who takes his time representing emotion. I’ve been having trouble slowing down in my own writing lately. I’ve been taking shortcuts. Reading loose prose has made me slacken. When emotion arises as I write, I want to once again push myself to feel out its spaces and allow images to concretize before I rush on to the next line. Simic, of course, does this impressively in this collection. Here’s an excerpt on solitude and philosophy.
Wallace Stevens has several beautiful poems about solitary readers. “The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm” is one. It speaks of a “truth in a calm world.” It happens! The world and the mind growing so calm that truth becomes visible.
It must be late at night “when shines the light that lets be the things that are”—the light of insomnia. The solitude of the reader of philosophy and the solitude of the philosopher drawing together. The impression that one is thinking and anticipating another man’s subtlest turns of thought and beginning to truly understand.
Understanding depends on the relationship of what we are to what we have been: the being of the moment. Consciousness stirring up our conscience, our history. Consciousness as the light of clarity and history as the dark night of the soul.
I’ve admired Hobart Literary Journal for years now — they always publish such interesting and quirky pieces — and I’m thrilled to say that my personal essay, “Soul Retrieval in the Southwest,” is on their website today. It describes my encounter with a shaman at a party, as well as the hypnosis session that follows. You can read the whole essay on their page, but here’s an excerpt:
People stood and sat around us, sipping cold beer and chatting. Singing Humyn and I began to discuss interpersonal relationships, and I divulged that I was sensitive to the emotional states of others. She told me that I could be a healer then as well. If only I channeled my energies in the right way. The thinker in me flinched at the idea of “energies,” but deep down I was pleased to no end. I imagined myself as a sturdy woman in skirts and silver earrings, pounding the earth with my bare feet in dance. In the fantasy, dark skies churned above my head.