Night of Vishnu: a Journey Through Marriage, Motherhood and Rebellion in Nepal is the story of an American anthropologist and feminist who becomes pregnant abroad in 1987, perseveres through prejudice and self-doubt to try a home birth in her husband’s Nepali village and discovers allies among local rebels fighting for change….
I am honored, thrilled (and, I must admit, a little bit scared) to have been accepted to two major writing conferences. Not only that, but I received scholarships for each: A James D. Houston Memorial Scholarship to Squaw Valley Writers’ Conference and a Bread Loaf-Rona Jaffe Foundation Scholarship for Nonfiction ( a full ride!) to […]
I’m thrilled and honored to announce that I’ve won the She Writes to Seal Press Publishing Contest. Seal Press will be offering me a publishing contract for Night of Vishnu: A Journey Through Marriage, Motherhood and Rebellion in Nepal. More details soon. If you’re interested in how the contest unfolded, follow these links: Seal Press […]
I’m honored to be one of five finalists in the Seal Press Publishing Contract Contest. The contest was co-sponsored by She Writes, an online community of women writers and invited submissions of full book proposals for a chance to win a publishing contract with Seal Press. I submitted a proposal for Night of Vishnu: A […]
A rare day of sunshine and blue sky lured us out of Portland toward Catherine Creek. After a fabulous wood-fired pizza at Solstice in Bingen, we set off along our usual trail down into the ravine. Then we decided to follow the trail as it forks west through old oaks on a bluff high above Catherine Creek.
I hadn’t been that way for awhile and had forgotten how beautiful it was. And how steep. I’ve been exercising in Portland, but there’s nothing like the first steep hike of spring to remind me I need to get in better shape.
Something about these leafless oak had me snapping lots of photos.
Once we reached the ridge, we strolled downhill for a few miles with wide, open views across the gorge. It was bright, and it seemed everything I wanted to photograph was straight into the sun. I haven’t studied photography. My strategy is to take lots of photos and hope a few turn out alright. I don’t do much composing. I remember an admonition from somewhere that you should always shoot with the sun behind you. But with Mt. Hood looking like a whipped cream peak, I had to try. But the sun blazed beside it. I felt foolish snapping so many shots right at the sun. But, this does capture the Mt. Hood-in-your-face feeling from up there.
I’ve never had much luck with wildflower shots at Catherine Creek. But I liked how the light glinted off these grass widows. To capture the view behind, I had to shoot into the sun again.
And for a close up of grass widows, I shot towards the sun as well.
Turns out I like my photos shot into the sun better than any others.
For several years, I’ve obsessed over a project I’ve been calling Sacred Threads — a memoir on my complicated relationship with Nepal. I thought it would be one book. Unfortunately, it grew too long to be marketable, especially for a first time author. Fortunately, I now see how to break the narrative into two books….
All summer, I looked forward to my new writing room in the strawbale house we’re building. I figured it would still need some work, but it would be good enough for me to settle in for the long winter, watch the snow fall and catch up on writing projects. But alas, we were overly optimistic […]
It’s amazing I’ve found time for any writing at all this summer. Here’s a sampling of some other distractions….
Long ago (1994), I wrote and published an essay in Cultural Anthropology titled “Beyond Writing: Feminism and the Limitations of Ethnography.” That was in many ways my swan song to academia. As I licked my academic and other wounds and struggled to make ends meet, I was happy now and then to hear how my essay was being used in graduate seminars on research ethics and ethnographic writing. Now, Cultural Anthropology is featuring that essay among four others (as well as some fine short stories) in a curated collection on Literature, Writing and Anthropology.
The editors, Darren Byler and Shannon Dugan Iverson, also interviewed us with questions like “What is the purpose of stories?” and “Is ethnography art?” You can see my answers here.
After being out of the academic loop for so long, I find it gratifying to sit alongside thinkers like Ruth Behar (one of my favorite ethnographers) and Vincent Crapanzano and also among some fine fiction writers like Michael Martone and Lucy Corin. I’m also thrilled to discover ethnographic work by S. Lachlann Jain (Cancer Butch) and Stuart McLean.
This curated collection coincides with the 25th anniversary of Writing Culture by James Clifford and George Marcus, a book that influenced many in my generation of anthropologists. The latest issue of Cultural Anthropology reflects on that influence and where to go next.
Kudos to the editors and to Cultural Anthropology for a great job and for making lively collections like Literature, Writing and Anthropology available online.
I began blogging here in 2008. Several months later, I migrated over to a separate blog, which I named Yips and Howls. As I remember, I mostly did that so I could fool around with wordpress and web design…