Friday, July 7, 2017

Poem "Market Value" in Writers Resist

On a fall day in 2015, the Chinese stock market dropped, which triggered a fall in all the other markets. I started thinking about the over financialization of our global economy. I started thinking about vegetable markets. I started thinking about what I knew then and how little I know now. Then this poem came.

Read "Market Value" on Writers Resist.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Poem "We The People Who March" in Writers Resist

Since I moved back to the US on November 8th, I have been searching for the right forms of resistance in this Upside-Down. Writers Resist is one form that has brought me motivation, enlightenment and a sense of unity. It's such a honor for me then to have my poem "We The People Who March" written for the Women's March on Washington as part of Writers Resist's 100 Days issue.

Especially after yesterday when the House of Representatives chose cruelty over humanity, putting millions of vulnerable Americans' health at risk, I needed a reminder of the hope and energy of the march, a first congregation of compassion and iron determination, back when the horrors ahead were still vague and uncertain. Now that so many have taken very certain forms, I need to, have to remember why we marched and why we'll be marching for the next four years. One of the protest signs that day said: "Rich White Man Rights for EVERYONE." Ok let's get that done. 1355 days of resistance left.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Story "The Sudden" in Wigleaf's 2017 Longlist

Last night I had the writerly blues. After a whole day of being at a standstill with my novel, feeling like I didn’t know anything about anything, and couldn’t write a single sentence worth a damn - I ended up binge watching Forensic Files on Netflix because there’s nothing like disturbing true crime stories to make you feel even worse. Then this morning, woke up to surprising better-than-bacon news: my Icelandic short story “The Sudden” made it on this year’s Wigleaf Longlist!

When it was first published with apt Magazine, it was already a joy to be alongside such beautiful and brilliant work, plus Carissa and Randolph are two of the loveliest, most compassionate and dedicated writers/editors/justice-fighters you’ll ever meet. I’m lucky that my bout of creative pessimism was disproved so quickly (thank you Wigleaf!) but it’s a nice reminder to work through the darkness,  to withhold judgment while holding yourself to a high standard. And make your Netflix choices wisely.

Congratulations to all the Wigleaf Top 50 winners!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Story "The Lady Clock" in decomP Magazine

My story “The Lady Clock” is out with decomP Magazine! I wrote this after I went to pick up my orchid from a friend who kindly took care of it during the holidays, and discovered the difficulties of walking down the street with a potted plant. Now that orchid has a home with another dear friend and Granita the cat. Super excited because I’ve been a big fan of decomP for years, they’ve won Best of the Net and other awards and are just perpetually awesome. And how cool is this "time lapse" cover art for the February issue?

Read the story at decomP

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Poem "Second Child" in Roanoke Review

Starting the year off right thanks to Roanoke Review who just featured my poem “Second Child” about China’s change from one-child to two-child policy. Check out the journal - they regularly feature stunning work (including new poems by Pulitzer-prize winning and founder Henry Taylor) plus they treat their writers with lots of kindness and support.

Read the poem and my commentary on the private impact of the policy here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Waterfall and the Phone

Ok it’s time for me to write my ode to the Samsung Galaxy S7, because if any cell phone deserves an ode, it’s that one.

It all started with someone’s need to celebrate her birthday this year by staying a night at the Giessbach Grand Hotel in Interlaken (ahem, me). Mike met me in Interlaken that afternoon, and one boat ride and charming old funicular later, we were at the hotel. It’s grand all right: a 19th-century hotel complete with long staircase entrance, sunset lake and a 500-meter waterfall called the Giessbach Falls. We had a little time before dinner so we went to check out the waterfall. It has 14 stages of roaring white water, and at one of the stages, there’s a steel bridge that takes you behind the fall so that you can look down at the hotel through a misty curtain.

Definitely a selfie moment so I took out my cell phone. Because it didn’t have a cover and the back is made of slippery glass, I told Mike, “I’d better not drop this.” Two minutes and six selfies later, I turned around and knocked into Mike’s hand which was holding the phone. The phone fell in excruciating slow motion, a Peter Jackson movie kind of slow. We watched it flip, flip, turn and disappear into the waterfall.

We looked at each other with the exact same thought, “Did that just happen?” Freak out. Quick calculation in my head of the pictures and files I hadn’t backed up yet. Then I remembered I was supposed to give the phone back to my company the next week! We left the bridge and I went to sit down on a boulder to hyperventilate properly.

Mike had the idea that he could try and retrieve the phone. Before I realized he wasn’t joking, he was climbing down the side of the waterfall. I yelled at him to come back, it wasn’t worth it, but the falls drowned me out. I watched his head bob up and down among the slimy black rocks, then he disappeared behind a boulder. I thought, I’m going to lose my fiancĂ© AND my cell phone on my birthday.

Mike’s head reappeared. He was smiling, waving at me. Jacket wet and glasses misty, he skipped back and showed me my phone. He found it in a pool of water along with other people’s dropped objects: a teddy bear, selfie stick, scarf, etc. Turns out that all his mountaineering in Switzerland and hours at the climbing gym were actually useful.
The phone worked! Not a scratch. Screen clear. All systems functional. At this point, all my up-and-down emotions burst out into tears. Mike took the phone and snapped a picture of me sobbing into my scarf. As we walked back to the hotel, I grabbed onto his wet jacket and told him, “I have to marry you.”

So congratulations Samsung, you’ve created a waterfall-proof phone. It gave me a birthday of tears, joys, adventures with water and gravity, heart palpitations and declarations of love. Plus it takes GREAT pictures.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

My Icelandic short story "The Sudden" in apt Magazine

My short story set in Reykjavik has just come out with apt Magazine! I wrote this after visiting Harpa Concert Hall a year ago and was struck by the beehive architecture. Read here.

Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavik

Actually, I dare anyone to go to dark magical light-filled Iceland and NOT feel compelled to write a story.