This little neglected space was in need of some TLC, so I gave it some updates. I’ll be posting more works-in-progress here in the new year, and sharing quotes/passages/poems that I’ve found and loved. (I’m a turning over a new website-savvy leaf, guys!)
If you’d like to read some of what I’ve been working on lately, here ‘tis:
I interviewed the badass Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins, executive chef at El Jardín and champion of Mexican cuisine and the women who keep it alive.
Hidden Compass, a literary travel magazine that I’ve admired for ages, published my essay in their winter issue. The piece is about the women behind Pattaya’s reputation as the sex capital of Thailand.
Food Tank invited me to write a short piece about two of the subjects that fascinate me most: food and the U.S.-Mexico border.
I also wrote a meditation on beauty for Nations Media. Beauty is one of Nations’ four core values, and it’s what I find most compelling about our mission: that we don’t just tell stories from places of pain or crisis but also look for God at work there.
Also, books! So many great reads this year. Here are my top ten (please note that at first I tried to pick just five LOL):
The River Why by David James Duncan - Took a while to get into but I was hooked (that’s a pun) by the end. David James Duncan writes dense novels about things like fly fishing and baseball, and somehow they are still my favorite.
Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner - Oh my word I wanted to live inside this book. It was the first Stegner novel that I read, and now I don’t want to read his other work because I don’t think it can possibly top this one?? Someone tell me if I’m wrong and if so, which book to read next.
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid - A magical-realist take on a world in exodus. Hamid sets a romance within the present-day movement of refugees across countries and cultures.
The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs - File under Books To Make You Weep. Riggs, a poet, wrote this at the end of her life. Her prose writing is aching and lovely and unsentimental.
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann - My friend Megan recommended this novel and it is just as transcendent as she promised. Set in New York in the seventies and told by a cast of diverse, intimate voices.
Homing Instincts by Sarah Menkedick - This essay collection contains a lot of things I love: odes to Oaxaca/Mexico, lush descriptions of place, domestic scenes, and reflections on the narrator’s inner landscape. I read everything Sarah Menkedick writes.
Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood - Me to my friend who recommended this memoir: “I’m reading Priestdaddy! It’s hilarious and weird and I love it.” Patricia Lockwood’s writing, as well as her subject matter (her family), is bizarre and irreverent and brilliant. This book takes a turn toward the end, which was satisfying.
They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us by Hanif Abdurraqib - Can anyone else write so incisively and compassionately about Carly Rae Jepsen or Fall Out Boy? Abdurraqib made me interested in subjects I thought I didn’t care about. Also he is a sentence wizard.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman - Surprising, smart, and tender (with a dark note that kept me intrigued). I read this in three days and then moped for another few days when it was over.
Walking on Water by Madeleine L’Engle - For anyone interested in art, faith, and the intersection of the two. L’Engle is an artist theologian, so I love her/want to be her.