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Showing posts from 2018

Return of the Butterfly: From Fleur, with Love

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Sometimes the best way to read a novel is to write one.

Over a decade ago, something like that began happening to me. I'd already been working at the craft of fiction for many years when it occurred to me that it might be interesting to try writing a first person narrative. Interesting? Hah! At the very second I had that thought, a little girl sprang up inside me, bright as a button and odd as could be, prone to banging and pinching and whirling whenever she was frightened or overwhelmed. Propelled by her insatiable curiosity about the world around her, she began skipping away from me at great speed. Intrigued and already more than a little smitten, I kicked up my feet and struggled to keep up with her—a dynamic that has pretty much marked our relationship ever since.

Over the course of two novels (The History of My Body and Tizita), she revealed to me the intricate philosophy she'd developed about the Void that was predicated on the habits of birds, weeds, wildly eccentric grow…

An Immodest Proposal: Zero Tolerance for Child Abuse

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"And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea." 
(King James Version of Matthew's Gospel)
In the entry hall to my home hangs this photographic meditation on the profound preciousness of children. A feeling for the numinosity of the young  has marked my life from my earliest days in Hermosa Beach, when an older girl—one of the many Dust Bowl refugee children who'd settled with their families in our then-humble beach town—welcomed this child of Jewish atheists into a backyard, Baptist prayer circle and introduced her to the baby Jesus. I'd learned about the value of children in my own noisy and loving home, where I listened to stories describing the tragic loss of all my grandparents' many babies except for my mother and where I witnessed my family's c…