Posts from the “Society” Category

The Stories We Tell and the Stories We Take

Posted on 7 October 2018

Use of the Hammer and Sickle in Former Soviet Territories and Outside These Areas What do you say when someone tells you their father was sent to the Gulag? He came back from the war and off he was sent – Stalin’s orders, to the lager! Z.’s back was to me as she hunched over my bed, fixing the sheets, curling into even less space than her short body could claim. “He came back from the war, from the front, with children’s books in German, because I was studying German, you see?” A German book claimed a life where a war could not.   Ghosts occupied every shadow of the apartment. Molotov-Ribbentrop. A siege. Young girls, starving but never quite dead. An unlikely reunion…

The Sun and the Moon and Here We Are

Posted on 8 January 2018

The one-hour bus ride from Mexico City turned into three but at least buskers kept us company with their music. Traffic sped, slowed, and crawled to an almost stop. One accident ahead was all it took to throw everything off. At one point, Teotihuacán was the largest city in the Western hemisphere, and one of the largest in the world, home to some 100,000 people, perhaps more. Moreover, though we don’t know exactly who built it, we do know that multiple ethnicities lived there. Its grandiosity is all the more staggering when you consider it was constructed roughly 2,000 years ago. Humans have really been very capable for a very long time. What else have we been? Teotihuacán takes time to wander. We walked…

Just Another Existential Hazard of Being a Woman

Posted on 17 October 2017

This was originally posted on 13 November 2012, when I was living and working in Cusco, Peru. Though this was five years ago, and I am now based in Seattle, things haven’t changed. I was last harassed just over a week ago, and then less than a week before that. It is endless. It is a bombardment. It makes me angry. It limits me. So, here goes again. I haven’t changed the wording of this post because, sadly, nothing has changed. Maybe there is a bit more awareness thanks to (mostly) womxn diligently speaking out, but we also have a harasser in chief here in the U.S. The #MeToo campaign has spurred conversation, so I am (re-)adding this story (one of many) and also…

Vacillation

Posted on 4 July 2017

  I am an American. I am a bursting bubble! I survey with an expectant smile. Enthusiastically I trample around. I offer hugs. I throw myself.   I have a shadow self. I say it will be alright. And then it isn’t. And then I squash the best parts of myself. Down with all that isn’t boisterous glee.   Facets spark in different light. In one hand I offer, one hand is a fist. Love me, hate me. It’s fair.   I’m more restless than you know. I know where I’m from, but what is home? Still I admit – proud? Of what, being born? – I am an American.

A Trail of Thought

Posted on 10 May 2017

My thoughts go like this. I’m in a national park – a relatively remote one, at that – and one may think it’s untouched and pristine, but no, it’s not. There was a mine in this park. I scramble among the ruins, trying not to touch too much. The desert has worn out the mine by now: it’s just over a hundred years old and it looks the part. And I say desert. This used to be grassland, but ranchers’ cattle gobbled it up. It is still beautiful. So, okay, there was a mine in this not-pristine wilderness but what about before that? Before the treads of cattle and the settlers who brought them, Native Americans were here; you can see old symbols they…