Saturday, December 26, 2015

Looking East at the SF Asian Art Museum: cultural appropriation or radical empathy?

If you're in the San Francisco Bay Area and looking for a great museum visit over the holidays, you won't do better than to visit the Asian Art Museum's current main-floor exhibition: Looking East: How Japan Inspired Monet, Van Gogh, and Other Western Artists. I visited the weekend before Christmas and found the art beautiful, the influences between East and West thought-provoking, and the curator's notes enlightening without being overbearing.

Entering the exhibit, the first piece a visitor encounters is a simple and iconic emblem of Japanese painting and culture: a vase blooming with cherry blossoms.


Looking closer, the piece is even finer that it seems at first glance: the blossoms are not all of one type, in fact they are a veritable botanical catalog, with the names of the different flowers inscribed in fine calligraphy, like delicate, semantically rich insects resting on exemplary petals:


Perhaps the clearest correspondence laid out by the curators between Japanese influence and European painting was a series of woodblock prints by Utagawa Hiroshige and corresponding copies painted by Vincent Van Gogh. Here's one such pair, the Japanese original on the left:


Depicting stylistic influence was the real treasure of the show (as opposed to 'mere evidence' of engagement implicit in copied or reworked images). A recurring trope was European works that echoed Japanese wood block styles, such as this woodblock depiction of an eagle by Isoda Koryusai and Otto Eckmann's woodcut of three herons:



Influence traveled eastward and westward in the work of Yoshida Hiroshi. According to the curator's note on a print depicting El Capitan in California's Yosemite National Park: "Yoshida's composition is somewhat Western in feel, in its suggestion of a straightforward recession in to space through the valley leading to the enormous rock face; but the use of pure colors and the lack of modeling lend the print an equally Japanese sensibility."


My favorite piece in the show was a painting by Camille Pissaro, Morning sunlight on the snow, in which (according to the curator's note) "artistic devices and Pissaro's overall sensitivity to seasonal effects may have been informed by his decades-long exposure to Japanese prints." My less-educated opinion: gorgeous. My crude photograph doesn't begin to do Pissaro justice.


You can't think long on this show wihtout acknowledging that the influence Japanese art exerted on late-nineteenth century European artists (Japonisme) could be critiqued as cultural appropriation. Perhaps it's only because I've lived for a long time with the idea that European impressionists developed their aesthetics in light of exposure to Japanese culture and cultural artifacts, but I found it difficult to discern, in the Looking East show, malevolence or disrespect on the part of the European artists represented in the exhibition. To me it looked as though the Europeans were excited and moved by modes of representation that were then new to them.

I was primed to be thinking of the show I'd just seen at the Asian Art Museum when I attended a literary event two days later -- Starhawk's launch party for her new novel, City of Refuge. In response to a question about how she works out issues of cultural appropriation in the richly imagined, multicultural future of The Fifth Sacred Thing and City of Refuge (its sequel, available starting next week), Starhawk gave an answer I liked a great deal -- though I can only paraphrase it roughly here:

In populating the California she imagines in her speculatively fictional future, Starhawk was unequivocal in her wish to immerse herself and her readers in a world broader than the categories in which she herself fits (white, Jewish, Wiccan, middle-aged, female). She wanted to write a world with people of color in it, and men, and people of diverse ages and sexualities. That is the world she inhabits today here in the Bay Area, and to narrow it would have rendered her fictional world dull (a goal to which very, very few writers cling). Moreover, Starhawk explained the care she takes when she writes about people who live in categories she doesn't: she shows her work to readers whose actual lives are refracted through her diverse characters, in order to receive early, honest, and corrective feedback should she slip into inappropriately narrow, flat, confining, or stereotypical depiction of those characters.

The author who asked Starhawk about cultural appropriation the other night was Kate Raphael (whose Murder Under the Bridge was released last month). I corresponded with Kate in early November when she was preparing to post on the topic of  writing characters unlike one's self (her resultant piece: Writing Down: Cultural Appropriation and the Fiction Writer's Dilemma). What I had to say last month in our correspondence on the topic (a bit of which Kate quoted in her post on the Killzone Blog) was that writing about anyone other than one’s self is an act of radical empathy. I would say that presuming to have a sufficient grasp of anyone else’s inner life to portray it in fiction is wondrously empathetic. How else to explain an author's portrayal of a mind outside her or his own? Yes, people do categorize experience in buckets labeled “sex” and “race” and “nationality” and “religion.” And, yes, those categorizations do hold water to a degree. Nonetheless. The entire edifice of writing, communication, and even relationships is built on a presumption that empathy happens, and can bridge the gulf between one lived experience and another.

Ideas, metaphor, behavior, language -- and constellations of ideas, metaphor, behavior, and language that we call "culture" -- has never been static. Humans have always evolved in the cradle (sometimes in the crucible) of relationships between individuals and groups. This does not deny the truth that regard of another culture can be shallow (even to the point of kitsch), or that shallow regard of culture can be a demeaning element of an asymmetrical, power-based relationship -- such as a colonial relationship. But to proceed irrevocably from that possibility to the assumption that all intercultural regard and exchange is transactional and oppressive is, at bottom, an argument for solipsism.

To my way of thinking and seeing, the European painters on display in the exhibition I visited last week, deeply influenced by their Japanese peers in the late 19th century, were not appropriating culture so much as engaging in acts of empathy. Work that emerged from that cross-pollination remains vibrant and exciting well over a century later.

Looking East is on exhibit at San Francisco's Asian Art Museum until 7 February 2016.


Related posts on One Finger Typing:
The Berkeley Art Museum is Dead - Long Live the Berkeley Art Museum!
Teju Cole's Open City: protagonist as open book or guarded guide?
Tinkering: on bookstore serendipity and novels that show what it is to be alive
The Mauritshuis visits San Francisco
Eureka! Boy led horse to San Francisco's de Young Museum!


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Paris, the Pleistocene, and finding the grit to grapple with climate change

The U.N.F.C.C.C.'s 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris concluded last week with an agreement among 195 countries that climate change is a problem and that it must be solved. Parties to the agreement agreed they might agree in a future meeting to commit sufficiently to the problem's solution to actually solve it, but they aren't committing themselves yet. The 195 nations agree that the solutions they've been discussing aren't adequate to the existential vastness of the problem, but that they'll try harder. In the future.

I believe the Paris agreement (of which the above tongue-in-cheek summary is only that) is about as good as anyone with their feet on the ground could have expected. After all, this was a negotiation that could only succeed by satisfying representatives of nearly two hundred sovereign nations.

Depending on who else you ask, the Paris agreement is universal and ambitious (Al Gore in The Guardian: may have signaled an end to the fossil fuel era); the beginning of the beginning (the NY Times editorial board: Now comes the hard part); a fraud (James Hansen in The Guardian: no action, just promises); or a vast left-wing conspiracy (blowhard and outlier Cal Thomas of Fox News: In my opinion, belief in "climate change" is on a par with childhood faith in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy).

During the COP21 conference in Paris, I stayed put here in California and read a slim volume of what you might call speculative non-fiction: In the Shadow of the Sabertooth: Global Warming, the Origins of the First Americans, and the Terrible Beasts of the Pleistocene. The book was written by Doug Peacock, the indomitable author of Grizzly Years and the late Edward Abbey's real-life model for George Washington Hayduke III of The Monkey Wrench Gang.

In this latest of his calls from the wild, Peacock considers evidence of the multiple routes that might have opened the unglaciated heart of North America to humans some 12-14,000 years ago, during a prior period of titanic climate shifts ... a period in which "35 genera of mostly-large animals suddenly disappear from the earth." Filling out the thin material evidence of human culture from this pre-historical period, the author and "renegade naturalist" calls on his own decades of experience in wilderness environments, and encounters with wild predators on both sides of the Bering Strait, to imagine human life during a time of massive shifts in climate, terrain, food resources, and bioscape.

Why this exercise, and why now? In Peacock's own words:
We sense big changes are coming but for now life is good. Yet the threat is real. The precise problem seems to be that modern humans have difficulty perceiving their own true long-term self-interests; we don't quite see the evolving threat to our survival as a civilization or a species. There's no Pleistocene lion lurking in the gulch. But beyond the false invulnerability of our clever technology and the insulation of our material comfort, here prowls the beast of our time.

[...] The central issue of my generation is the human perpetrated wound we have inflicted against the life-support systems of the earth, whose collective injuries are increasingly visible today as climate change. Should humans push through another population bottleneck, we will drag down much of the wild earth and almost all the large animals with us. And that's the rub: not that it's unfair, which it is, but whether people can thrive without the habitats in which our human intelligence evolved, that gave rise to that bend of mind we call consciousness?
Homo sapiens evolved in wilderness landscapes that are in part still with us; can we hope to endure when that homeland vanishes?
The argument laid out by In the Shadow of the Sabertooth... supposes that it's already too late, that humans have acted and will act too slowly and tentatively to throttle back the effects of the Anthropocene sufficiently to save human civilization as we know it; and considers how humankind might survive a radically unwelcome reconfiguration of our planet.
It has been my purpose in exploring the earliest colonization of the Americas -- a story constructed of interpreted scientific investigations and reconstructed tales of adventure -- to ask questions that appear relevant to the 21st century -- an effort to draw the Pleistocene past into the present day climate change at every appropriate twist in the trail.

I believe in the value of wilderness and it is that wildness which bridges these two worlds. The greatest wilderness ever glimpsed by humans was the uninhabited Americas at the time of first entry into the New World. We are all children of the Pleistocene: Will we dare face the hot future with the ballast of those pilgrims who charged out of the Ice Age?
Peacock projects a future that, should it come to pass, will validate James Hansen's furious disappointment with the recently-concluded talks in Paris. I am temperamentally inclined to foresee that dark future myself. But at the same time I would like to believe -- and I think there is still some ground for believing -- that we remain, today, on a cusp that might yet tip Earth toward a less-decimated future.

And I believe that while there's hope, there's obligation to act to realize it.

That's the theme at the core of my own recently-published novel, Consequence, which I am honored to report made Doug Peacock's reading list earlier this year. I was further honored to hear from the author of In the Shadow of the Sabertooth that, in his judgment, we are writing on the same page, as it were. Doug Peacock on Consequence, circa last month:
Here is a carefully crafted book about the necessity, and danger, of taking personal action in the 21st century. “History,” writes Chris Kalman, the protagonist of Consequence, “will be determined by those who act,” and that war today is for nothing less than Life on Earth—an ambitious undertaking. 
The book’s own cast live in an activist collective—a rarity these days except perhaps, as set, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Steve Masover’s characters ooze humanity; their daily conversations are filled with Dostoyevskian struggles, often wrapped around the morality of civil disobedience and violence. Yet these portraits are finely drawn, never caricature. Consequence swims in an abundance of precise technical detail—much like Edward Abbey’s The Monkey Wrench Gang. This thriller is not nearly as esoteric as it might sound: what keeps you turning pages is Masover’s decency toward his characters and their story. The communal life is neither precious nor romanticized. 
The villain of Consequence happens to be genetic engineering but it could have been any current social or environmental issue. The premise, absolutely believable today, is that life on the planet is threatened and that battle waged by this novel’s characters will make a difference. And why not? Our world can snap on a single violent moment folded into the approaching horrors of global warming. 
This is a human story shot in the ass with ideas. 
“If  we allow life on Earth to be destroyed by human negligence,” writes Kalman, “morally the human race will have failed.”
This month's climate agreement is a shot over the bow of the twenty-first century. If Paris was anything real -- anything more than a conclave of yammering, impotent diplomats -- it is the beginning of a monumentally difficult journey, dwarfed only by the draconian horror humankind will face should we fail to embark upon and complete it. As the Editorial Board of the NY Times put it:
The French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, described the agreement as a “historical turning point.” Ban Ki-moon, the secretary general of the United Nations, called it a “monumental success for the planet and its people.” Whether it turns out to be either of those things depends largely on what the individual signatories are willing to put into it. This is an agreement built firmly on science, but also on the hope that the enthusiasm generated in Paris will translate into concrete measures across the globe that will, in fact, prevent the worst consequences of climate change.

Let's keep life on Earth from being destroyed by human negligence, shall we?



Related posts on One Finger Typing:
Northern California mobilizes for climate action as Paris talks near
Pope Francis' environmental encyclical in four core themes
Asking the wrong questions about GMOs for disinformation and profit
The fossil fuel industry and the free sump that is our atmosphere: Zing!


Thanks to John Englart (Takver) for his image Shoes in Place de la Republique - Climate of Peace #climat2paix, via Flickr under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Suffragette: a film in which the gloves should have come off, but didn't

I saw the film Suffragette over the long weekend, drawn in by its billing as a story about the rank and file of women who struggled for the right to vote in early 20th century England.

Though a great deal more was at stake and actively contested by women in that period, I anticipated the film would focus narrowly on women's suffrage. When I bought my ticket I thought I'd be okay with that. After all, one movie can only illuminate so much history.

What I didn't anticipate was the opacity of the protagonist's shift from resigned (one can't say "satisfied") laundress to radicalized suffragette. As the film was written/released, Maud Watts (played with sympathy and subtlety by Carey Mulligan) seemed to be carried along by accidents of circumstance as she became first a witness to Parliament, then a mailbox-bomber, and then unwillingly separated from her child. These accidents of circumstance do seem to add up to her motivation to radicalize, but only when glued together by the viewer's inference and projection. There's little to indicate what sense Maud Watts made of her own world, or why she made the choices -- hard choices -- she did.

I would have liked the film to delve deeper than accidents of circumstance. On reflection, I think that it was precisely the narrowness of political focus that prevented a deeper portrayal of the film's protagonist.

So what else was at stake for women in the 1910s besides the vote?

It's true that suffragists from Susan B. Anthony to Alice Paul to Emmeline Pankhurst had been fighting for women’s right to vote since the mid-nineteenth century. In that time there was also Margaret Sanger and the many women who insisted as Sanger did that women must determine for themselves whether and when to bear children. Elizabeth Gurley FlynnLucy Parsons, and "Mother" Jones organized the radical Industrial Workers of the World alongside Big Bill HaywoodEugene Debs, and others. Flynn went on to help found the American Civil Liberties Union in a period when antiwar protesters and other critics of the U.S. government were being muzzled, beaten, arrested, and -- in the case of anarchist icon Emma Goldman -- deported. Birth control, labor's struggle with capital, realization and preservation of political/civil liberties, the savage willingness of power and industry to engage in an arms race and slaughter millions in WWI (in order to further enrich and empower themselves): all these were boiling up or boiling over in the period in which Suffragette was set.

Here's Emma Goldman railing against the insufficiency of universal suffrage -- indeed against the insufficiency of government -- to truly liberate either women or men. In Anarchism and Other Essays (1917), the essay “Woman Suffrage” concluded:
She [woman] can give suffrage or the ballot no new quality, nor can she receive anything from it that will enhance her own quality. Her development, her freedom, her independence, must come from and through herself. [...] That is, by trying to learn the meaning and substance of life in all its complexities, by freeing herself from the fear of public opinion and public condemnation.  Only that, and not the ballot, will set woman free, will make her a force hitherto unknown in the world, a force for real love, for peace, for harmony; a force of divine fire, of life giving; a creator of free men and women.
By quoting Goldman I am not suggesting that the right of women to vote is beside the point. It is not at all beside the point, and in the early 20th century it meant at least as much as an emblem of women's full and free participation in all matters social and political as it did vis-à-vis electing school boards, mayors, governors, MPs, congresspersons, presidents, and all their varied ilk. The heart of Goldman's point was that voting would not of itself make women free, no more than voting had freed men from the power of capital, state violence, and repressive social constraints.

What I found missing from Suffragette was a context that placed women in the thick of social and political struggles beyond universal suffrage. The film did little to show domestic and labor relations as political issues in their own right, related to but distinct from a right to vote in elections. Yes, the protagonist in Suffragette was clearly and vividly constrained and oppressed at home, in her workplace, by police in the course of peaceful protest, and in the way her grievances were dismissed by the British government. The sole focus of political organizing, consciousness-raising, and demand in the film was, however, the right to vote. Yes, Suffragette gave an indirect nod to broader and deeper context when Maud Watts voiced her realization and then her insistence that "there's another way of living this life." But that nod neither traced nor animated the development of the protagonist's consciousness or participation in the suffragist movement within the context of a broad spectrum of political grievances or demands that were relevant to Maud and to all women in her period and circumstances.

When Maud spoke that line -- "there's another way of living this life" -- I immediately recalled one spoken by Laura Whitehorn in Sam Green's 2002 Oscar-nominated documentary film The Weather Underground. I had no trouble recalling the line because it takes on a key significance in my own recently-published novel, Consequence. Whitehorn was a member of Weather Underground and is currently a writer and activist in New York. Her lifelong work addressed or addresses Black and Puerto Rican liberation struggles, the Vietnam War, feminism, and AIDS/HIV. In Green's documentary, Whitehorn says:
"I definitely think that people never stop struggling, and never stop waiting for the moment when they can change the things that make their lives unlivable."
It's worth noticing that radical women have long stood at the forefront of struggle to change what makes life unlivable, to find "another way of living this life." There's not just one reason for that. There's a broad spectrum of reasons.

Today, as we witness the toxic waste dump identified in the media as the pool of 2016 G.O.P. candidates for U.S. President spew hateful lies in a reactionary bid to undermine women's independence and health, goading heavily-armed scumbags to heinous acts of terroristic violence -- well, it's crystal-clear that the broad spectrum of reasons women and their allies have to struggle for "another way of living this life" remains in play.

I'd say the film Suffragette's narrow focus on voting rights inhibits a viewer from fully understanding or empathizing with the range of issues, social relations, and constraints that led its fictional protagonist, Maud Watts, along the only path that would permit her to realize full humanity in the historical context to which she was born: that is, along a path of radicalized political engagement with a government and patriarchy that sought to deny her inalienable human rights.

Suffragette is worth seeing. I'm glad I saw it. But I wish the filmmakers had taken off their gloves, as I hope women and women's allies will do en masse today.



Related posts on One Finger Typing:
Activist fiction: it's about engagement, not about The Issue
CONSEQUENCE has arrived
Robert Redford, the Weather Underground, and why we read books



Thanks to Wikimedia Commons for the public domain image of Emma Goldman addressing a rally in Union Square (New York), 1916.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Radical Storytelling: Howard Zinn Book Fair photos and video

Here are some photos and video from Sunday's (2nd annual) Howard Zinn Book Fair, held at the Mission campus of City College of San Francisco.

At the fair I shared a table with authors Kate Raphael and Barbara Rhine; and participated in a panel titled Radical Storytelling: Writing Activism into Fiction with Diana Block, Kate Raphael, and Starhawk.

Setting up our table

Anticipating the crowds: Barbara Rhine (Tell No Lies), Kate Raphael (Murder Under the Bridge), and me (Consequence)

Before the panel began

Kate introducing Radical Storytelling: Writing Activism Into Fiction (see/hear Kate's intro on YouTube).

Here's what I had to say about Consequence in my allotted ten minutes, including a reading from Chapter 31:


Kate reads from Murder Under the Bridge

Not an empty seat in the house


Starhawk spoke generously about Murder Under the Bridge and Consequence (she had not yet read Diana's Clandestine Occupations), then read from her forthcoming novel City of Refuge, a sequel to The Fifth Sacred Thing 


Great conversations, all day long...


Thanks especially to James, and to Andy and Patrick of The Green Arcade bookstore, for organizing a terrific book fair. I'm looking forward to #3!


Related posts on One Finger Typing:
Howard Zinn Book Fair returns to San Francisco on Sunday Nov 15th
Launch party photos
Pre-apocalyptic fiction: staving off catastrophe



Thanks to Matthew Felix Sun for his always-excellent and reliable photojournalism...

Monday, November 9, 2015

Howard Zinn Book Fair returns to San Francisco on Sunday Nov 15th

I wouldn't miss this year's Howard Zinn Book Fair, even setting aside Radical Storytelling: Writing Activism Into Fiction -- the HZBF panel in which I will participate with three other Bay Area authors; and even if it weren't for the table I've reserved to offer Consequence to attendees alongside a co-panelist and yet another fellow-author. Let me explain why, then I'll plug Radical Storytelling...

The Keynote Conversation at 12:30 pm between Dr. Claybourne Carson and Alicia Garza couldn't be more important or immediate. The Stanford University history professor, who has directed the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute and the MLK Papers Project for thirty years, will discuss Black Lives Matter: Past Present and Future with the co-founder of the #blacklivesmatter movement. Don't miss it.

The program is too rich to detail in its entirety here, so I'll settle for listing five of the panels I wish I could attend (I may get to see one of the only-three listed below that don't overlap with my own 11-12 panel ... but only if my fellow-authors will spell me at our table). Here's my list:
  • Stolen Land: Primitive Accumulation and the Dispossession of Native Americans, 11-12 (Ragina Johnson)
  • Changing Natures in the Capitalcene, 11-12 (Andrej Gurbacic, Eddie Yuen, Michelle Glowa)
  • Capitalism Papers, 1:45-2:45 pm (Jerry Mander)
  • Reinventing Left Publications With Jacobin, 3-4 pm (Bhaskar Sunkara)
  • The Legacy of ACT-UP, 4:15-5:15 (Laura Thomas, Mike Shriver, Lito Sandoval, Rebecca Hensler, Eric C. Ciasullo)
Three of the five include panelists I know and respect from activism past, present, and future: from the anti-apartheid movement of the mid-1980s, AIDS activism in the eighties and nineties, anti-torture work of the aughts, and climate activism today. While I've admired Jerry Mander for decades, since reading his epic Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, I've never seen him speak. And I'd be fascinated to hear what Bhaskar Sunkara has to say about building a new generation of engaging, invigorating publications for a twenty-first century left.

Radical Storytelling: Writing Activism Into Fiction

The panel in which I'm participating kicks off at 11am in the Carlo Tresca Room (a.k.a. room 315), and features discussion and reading with debut novelists and longtime activists Diana Block (Clandestine Occupations: An Imaginary History), Steve Masover (Consequence) and Kate Raphael (Murder Under The Bridge); and author/activist Starhawk, whose novel City of Refuge is forthcoming. You can check out my description of Kate's and Diana's books in a blog I posted last month, Activist Fiction: it's about engagement, not The Issue. Here's the capsule description for Radical Storytelling: Writing Activism Into Fiction:
Behind the marathon meetings, the hours of diligent preparation, and the methodical work involved in making social change,  heartbreaking, hair raising, life affirming stories lie hidden. Too often these stories remain invisible or are co-opted by the corporate media in sensationalistic ways to serve the status quo.  How do we as activists transform our lived experiences into page-turning, imaginative fiction that can move both activist readers and people who have never participated in a social movement? How do we move beyond the sound bytes and rhetoric that sometimes limit activism to portray characters and situations that have psychological and political depth, and tell radical stories that are compelling to a broad variety of readers?
If you plan to come, please RSVP for Radical Storytelling... on Facebook. I hope you'll be there! And please do come by our table before or afterward to say hello, meet Kate Raphael and Barbara Rhine (Tell No Lies), and pass on the best of what you've seen and heard at the panel discussions we had to miss!

Here's the logistical lowdown for the Howard Zinn Book Fair:
Date: Sunday 15 November, 2015
Time: 10 am to 6 pm
Place: San Francisco City College's Mission Campus, 1125 Valencia St. @ 22nd (map; 24th St. BART)
See you Sunday...


Related posts on One Finger Typing:
Activist Fiction: it's about engagement, not The Issue
Sticking your neck out
Robert Redford, the Weather Underground, and why we read books

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Northern California mobilizes for climate action as Paris talks near

People across Northern California are determined to voice their demand that the U.S. government do the right thing at the COP21 talks beginning in Paris later this month. "COP21" is the 21st annual meeting of the "Conference of Parties" under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.


Since early summer I've been working with a diverse coalition of labor, social justice, environmental, and faith groups under an umbrella we call the Northern California Climate Mobilization. We're organizing a march and rally in Oakland, California on Saturday November 21st, and we're expecting a tremendous crowd. Details on the web site if you're local to the Bay Area; RSVP on NCCM's Facebook event page.

What do we want? Here are the highlights from the mobilization's Points of Unity:
Challenging climate catastrophe
the Northern California Climate Mobilization demands

A global agreement to implement
dramatic and rapid reduction in
global warming pollution

Keep fossil fuels in the ground!
100% clean, safe, renewable energy!

End all fracking, tar sands mining and pipelines, offshore drilling, arctic drilling.
Stop expansion of the extractive economy. Wind, solar, geothermal power now.
No coal exports or crude-by-rail bomb trains in Northern California.

A dramatic and rapid reduction in global warming pollution is necessary to create:
  • A world united to repair the ravages of climate change
  • A world with an economy that works for people and the planet
  • A demilitarized world with peace and social justice for everyone; where Black Lives Matter; with justice and respect for immigrants and migrants; where good jobs, clean air and water, and healthy communities belong to all
350.org is calling for a Global Climate March on the weekend directly preceding the start of COP21, Thanksgiving weekend in the U.S. -- and people across the world are mobilizing. (Because we judged it would be harder to turn out a crowd on Thanksgiving weekend, NCCM decided to hold our mobilization the weekend before, on November 21st).

At this stage of global dialog, not to mention current global awareness of climate change induced or inflected crises -- from California's drought to Syria's war and its associated, harrowing migrant crisis -- it's hardly necessary to recap the fact that humans have induced a set of existential threats to our entire biosphere.

But it's probably worth pointing out some of the circumstances and threats that make climate change and climate justice local issues for the Bay Area (cribbing liberally here from a set of talking points that NCCM is developing):

  • The Bay Area, with the rest of California, is enmeshed in a four year drought. Our air has been smoky all summer from wildfires burning through our treasured wilderness, farms lie fallow for lack of water, residents are radically conserving at home (this last is not a bad thing, but its necessity is noteworthy).
  • El Niño conditions may relieve the drought by the end of the coming winter, but warming water and storms have already begun to wreak havoc on our offshore ecosystems: dead whales and emaciated seal pups are washing up on our beaches in unprecedented numbers. Untold damage is being done to our fisheries. On October 15th, a "1,000 year rainfall event" dumped torrents of rain on Southern California in an hour, causing a mudslide over Highway 5 (the principal north/south route along the entire west coast of the U.S.) that closed the interstate for 45 miles of its critical length.
  • Transport of volatile crude oil on "bomb trains" to refineries in Richmond California, and a local developer's attempt to railroad the City of Oakland into allowing transport of dirty coal from Utah through Oakland's port, endangers every family who lives in neighborhoods bordering rail routes.
  • We in the Bay Area have families in the Philippines, Pakistan, Africa, Syria, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, New York, Alaska, and other places where extreme weather events are taking lives and displacing people today. Climate change and climate justice are global issues, and everyone is impacted, everywhere.

And so the Bay Area is turning out on November 21st, as COP21 approaches. What's mobilizing where you live?


Related posts on One Finger Typing:
Pope Francis' environmental encyclical in four core themes
Oil trains, coal trains: extractive economics vs. people and place
The fossil fuel industry and the free sump that is our atmosphere: Zing!




Thursday, October 22, 2015

Activist fiction: it's about engagement, not about The Issue

Mysteries are about solving fictionalized real-world puzzles, most often crimes. In fiction categorized as "romance" characters seek, find, lose, and rediscover fulfillment through relationships with an often-idealized other. "Christian fiction" aims to promote behavior, ethics, and beliefs that align with the author's concept of Christianity. "Cli fi" (climate fiction) portrays a world as the author perceives it has been or or anticipates it will be affected by climate change / global warming. Eco-fiction prominently features any of a range of environmental or ecological issues -- recently, I've become interested in a Google+ Group that exchanges posts on these topics; Eco-themes in literature and the arts.

These are all helpful categories. People who want to explore characters and situations that orbit crime, romantic love, Christianity, climate change, or environmental themes can more easily find books they want to read by sifting through their category of choice, as opposed to slogging through the vast and chaotic universe of 129,864,880 books (as of ~5 years ago) from which one could conceivably choose reading material.

But "activist fiction" is an ill-defined category with an unfocused and prejudicially skewed reputation.

Some might say a story whose characters are political activists is "activist fiction" (think Doris Lessing's The Good Terrorist, Edward Abbey's The Monkey Wrench Gang, Neal Stephenson's Zodiac, or Ruth Ozeki's All Over Creation). Others might assert that if a novel's theme is politically charged and the characters, narrator, and/or author more-or-less take a position, it's "activist fiction" (think Dalton Trumbo's Johnny Got His Gun, George Orwell's 1984, Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go, or Darragh McKeon's All That Is Solid Melts Into Air). Perhaps the narrowest and least helpful definition of the category is one that casts any novel written by an author who is also a political activist as "activist fiction" (think James Baldwin, Jean Genet, or Nadine Gordimer).

To me, "activist fiction" tells stories about people who engage with the world from a point of view that seeks to understand (and often influence) its political dimensions.

Of course, "about people who engage with the world" is a generic definition of almost any story with a character and a setting. And my definition isn't very helpful until the word "political" is unpacked a bit. What I mean by it, in this context, is close to how Merriam Webster defines politics in the word's broadest senses and as it is least closely bound to formal government:
2: political actions, practices, or policies
5a: the total complex of relations between people living in society
The key for me: "activist fiction" is about a type of person and a range of modes of engaging with the world, rather than about any particular issue. It's about the human experience of those engagements ... not the war, environmental disaster, or draconian government that provides a situation or setting that anchors the fiction.

To give illustrative examples, I'm going to use three books published or scheduled for publication this Fall ... the authors, not coincidentally, are three of four panelists slated to discuss Radical Storytelling: Writing Activism Into Fiction at this year's Howard Zinn Book Fair in San Francisco. One of those authors is yours truly.

Clandestine Occupations: An Imaginary History, by Diana Block, describes pivotal relationships and dramatic decisions taken by women who support the Puerto Rican independence movement and those imprisoned for their part in it. Love, loyalty, risk, succor, abandonment, fear, betrayal, and forgiveness are the human dimensions of stories that play out in interlinked episodes over the course of forty years. The novel's drama revolves around and is propelled by the characters' involvement in a political struggle, but commitment to an independent Puerto Rico is the ocean Block's characters swim in -- they don't spend a great many pages explaining that the ocean is wet.

Murder under the Bridge: A Palestine Mystery, by Kate Raphael, is a straight-up detective story set in one of the most contested social and political environments on the planet: the Palestinian West Bank overlaid by Israel's occupation. The bones of Raphael's story follow the contour of most any detective story: a body is found; police go about discovering who murdered the victim. What makes her novel different from any murder mystery you're likely to have read is that the detective is Rania, a Palestinian woman with a young son and a life dedicated to building her people's governing institutions as a member of Fatah (the party of Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas). Rania teams up with Chloe, a Jewish-American lesbian activist, to discover who done it. Grassroots activism occurs at the edges of the novel: a confrontation with bulldozers, for example, when Israelis are dispatched to uproot a grove of olive trees that belong to Palestinian farmers; or Chloe's attempts to ward off Israeli soldiers' attacks on unarmed Palestinian boys through her witnessing presence as "an international." But the real political power and fascination of Murder Under the Bridge occurs in its nuanced portrayal of daily routines and relationships among family members and villagers in the West Bank -- a view of everyday life that is hard to find in polarized media portrayals of occupied Palestine. Perhaps most gripping of all, readers are introduced to the sordid underbelly of human trafficking that satisfies Israeli appetites for service workers, nannies, and prostitutes, same old horrifying same old across continents and millennia; and the similarly familiar and discomfiting intimacy between war criminals and peace activists. Murder Under the Bridge is activist fiction because it portrays regular people butting their heads against social constraint, military control, and political power in pursuit of justice.

Consequence, by Steve Masover (a.k.a. moi), portrays a collective household of friends and political activists who engage in nonviolent "direct action" protest. The collective, dubbed the Triangle, engages in a diverse range of progressive political issues; in the novel's timeframe they are preparing to protest genetic engineering's environmental dangers, at an international meeting of biotech companies and scientists taking place at San Francisco's convention center. One member of the Triangle is drawn into a clandestine plot to destroy a agricultural biotech research facility under construction in the midwest. In Consequence, the issue (genetic engineering) is not nearly so central as the question of how grassroots activists can and should balance commitment to nonviolent tactics with actions that call dramatic attention to issues that won't get media attention unless and until protest escalates. As Oscar-nominated director Sam Green put it, "Consequence asks thorny, essential questions about personal responsibility and the role of violence in movements for social change."

---

To hear more from Diana, Kate, prolific author and celebrated activist-pagan Starhawk, and me about how books portray the engaged and engaging lives of activists please join us at our November 15th panel Radical Storytelling: Writing Activism Into Fiction at this year's Howard Zinn Book Fair at the City College Mission Campus in San Francisco (1125 Valencia St, near 24th St. BART; map).

Radical Storytelling: Writing Activism Into Fiction kicks off at 11:00 am on November 15th. I'll be tabling at the fair as well, so if you're in the Bay Area come by, say hello, and check out some of the other excellent books and panels on offer!



Related posts on One Finger Typing:
Launch party photos
Sticking your neck out
Pre-apocalyptic fiction: staving off catastrophe
Robert Redford, the Weather Underground, and why we read books


Thanks to Wikimedia Commons for the public domain image of the painting La liberté guidant le peuple by Eugène Delacroix.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Launch party photos

One of my old and dear friends nailed it. The launch party for Consequence was like a wedding: people from every corner of my life showed up for the celebration at Diesel Books in Oakland.

Here's what it was like, in pictures (there's video too, but that'll take a bit longer to stitch together and post):

























Thanks to everyone who came out for a terrific afternoon!



Related posts on One Finger Typing:
Launch Party at Diesel Books Oakland - Sunday 18 Oct at 3pm
Sticking your neck out
CONSEQUENCE has arrived
Hanging friends' art in fiction


Thanks to Matthew Felix Sun and Quinn Dombrowski for the terrific photos!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Launch Party at Diesel Books Oakland - Sunday 18 Oct at 3pm

Diesel Books in Oakland is generously hosting a launch party for Consequence this coming Sunday, 18 October 2015, from 3:00 to 4:00 pm.


I'll read, I'll answer questions, I'll sign books (Diesel will have plenty on-hand).

Who will be there? Old friends, new friends, seasoned authors, authors with books coming out this Fall, complete strangers, family, seasoned activists, colleagues, artists, Tai Chi classmates, former housemates, and uncategorizable iconoclasts -- avid readers all. (Well, I don't actually know about the complete strangers, but why else would they show up at a book launch party?)

It would be great to see you at Diesel!!



Feel free to RSVP on the Facebook event page ... but in any case, I hope that if you're in the Bay Area you'll join me.

Need directions? Diesel is at 5433 College Avenue, about four blocks from Rockridge BART, between the station and Broadway. Here's a map:






Related posts on One Finger Typing:
Sticking your neck out
CONSEQUENCE has arrived
Hanging friends' art in fiction

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Sticking your neck out

I've had some interesting conversations lately about activist fiction. Yes, I have to acknowledge that those who focus on categorizing fiction might assume Consequence is aimed at a narrow demographic, fiction primarily written 'for' people who self-identify as political activists. But that's not how I conceived the novel, and early reviews on Amazon and Goodreads suggest my intention will be realized: that readers with much broader interests will feel rewarded once they find their way into its pages.

Given that the novel orbits a collective household of political activists, I think I ought to explain how and why I see a wider readership taking interest in it.

The thing is, I believe a broad, messy, scrappy variety of all kinds of people are quite a lot 'like' activists ... even though most would never think to call themselves that.

'Activist fiction', the way I read it, is a category of stories about people who are willing to stick their necks out.

Even if you're not that sort yourself, you probably know half a dozen people among family and friends who have stuck their neck out once or twice. Maybe you know people who stick their necks out regularly about some issue or problem or person they care about deeply. People who stick their necks out are legion, a ubiquitous part of our world. And when people stick their necks out, what they're up to is often pretty interesting. Captivating, even.

Here's my take from a 'sample interview' I drafted on the road to bringing out Consequence:
Q: What would somebody who isn’t politically active get from Consequence?

SM: Everybody decides how far to stick their neck out to confront the things they just can’t bear. Maybe you confront a school principal if your kid is getting bullied or shunned, or you go out of your way to buy something from a local business instead of on-line or from a national chain. Maybe you write a letter to the editor, or sign a petition, or support a political candidate who is trying to do something better than business as usual. Maybe you post an article or a meme about an issue you care about on Facebook or Tumblr or Twitter even if you expect it’ll rub some of the people you know the wrong way. Consequence is about people who are willing to stick their necks out regularly, around multiple issues, and to stick their necks out even further when hanging out in their comfort zone doesn’t get the results they’re after. I think most people can identify with that dilemma. Most of us go out on a limb about something we care about at some point in our lives, one way or another.
And another angle:

I swim regularly at the YMCA in Berkeley, and over many years I've met quite a few people outside my usual circles. Gyms are good for that. 'Everybody works out' may overstate the case, but you find a wide range of personalities in a gym that has 15,000 members.

One fellow-swimmer I talk with often is Jon P--, a commercial real estate broker, Rotarian, and grandfather. Recently, when I casually characterized Consequence in conversation as a novel about 'activists', Jon took sharp -- and well-considered -- exception. Not to the novel, which he hadn't read at the time. But to what he took to be my too-narrow definition of 'activist.'

"Look," he said, "everybody's an activist..." And then told me about a retired physician and member of the Berkeley Rotary Club who is in his mid-80s and remains passionate about eradicating polio. Bob, the physician, doesn't consider himself an activist, per se, Jon told me. People who know him don't think: oh, he's an anti-polio activist. People who know Bob see a doctor who has witnessed more than his share of suffering -- nature of the job, right? -- and is driven by empathy and compassion to do something to relieve a measure of that suffering.

So Bob works actively and passionately to accomplish a goal he holds to be a critically important public good.

Isn't that what activists do?

My friend Jon is right: maybe not everybody is an activist, but to draw a border between "activism" and passionate, goal-oriented activity aimed at realizing a public good -- that's not a very helpful or informative distinction. I'd venture the characters in Consequence would agree.

More or less everybody, sometime, sticks their neck out about something.


Related posts on One Finger Typing:
Radical conservatism vs the radical left
When authorities equate disobedience with violence
The Occupy Movement and UC Berkeley's Free Speech Monument
The desire to destroy is also a creative desire
Digging deeper holes


Thanks to Greg Willis for the image of giraffes, zebras, and springboks, via Wikimedia Commons.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Pre-apocalyptic fiction: staving off catastrophe

Stories set in a world that has been ruined by some overwhelming catastrophe are commonly categorized as “post-apocalyptic fiction,” a sub-genre of speculative fiction -- for the time being at least, because the world isn’t ruined yet. Not altogether, anyway.

But what about stories that concern themselves with ruin that might happen, but hasn’t yet? With Apocalypse Brewing, so to speak.

I define “pre-apocalyptic fiction” as stories that aren’t so speculative as their darker, world-gone-kaput cousins. Pre-apocalyptic stories take place in the world that exists, not a world that might come to pass. We recognize the world of these stories as our own. Apocalypse -- an existential threat to all humankind, or to all life on Earth -- is not a foregone conclusion, though threat looms large. In a narrator’s or protagonist’s view, the end might be nigh.

Most importantly, the pre-apocalyptic category is a form of moral fiction. The heroes in these tales are women and men who are doing what they can to turn the apocalyptic tide. If there’s no hope of staving off apocalypse, or if a story’s drama turns on the discovery that apocalypse is inevitable, we’re talking cusp-of-apocalypse fiction … which (in my taxonomy, at least) is a different animal.

Here’s a short list of novels I categorize as pre-apocalyptic:

The Jaguar’s Children by Jack Vaillant (2015). Concealed in a tanker truck welded shut by smugglers, then abandoned with its human cargo in the Arizona desert, a volatile secret unearthed by a scientist named César is making its way northward from Mexico. The biotech company for which César once worked has released a genetically modified variant of corn engineered to wipe out plant diversity that indigenous farmers have depended on for thousands of years, and transform Mexico's self-sufficient agrarian communities into indentured servants of agribusiness. César’s mission to expose and contain the chaos sown by his former employer can succeed only if the signal-starved cell phone into which his story is narrated -- and which also contains documentary evidence of big biotech’s plot -- is rescued along with the few who stand any chance of surviving a slow descent toward death-by-dehydration in the abandoned tanker.

All That Is Solid Melts Into Air by Darragh McKeon (2014). In 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant burns in the northern Ukraine, as the Soviet Union stumbles toward collapse. A surgeon named Grigory does Sisyphean battle ministering to an endless stream of radiation-sickened victims, in the face of indifference or worse as bloodless bureaucrats attend to controlling information and deflecting blame away from the Soviet state. Meanwhile, in Moscow, Grigory’s estranged wife Maria is drawn into a workers’ plot to weaken the crumbling empire. The apocalypse in this novel is “local” only in the sense that a global cascade of nuclear plant failures -- Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukishima -- has just begun, and the industry that runs the reactors shows little sign of shutting them down. The heroes in McKeon’s novel battle inertia and self-interest that form the poisoned soil in which disaster germinates.

All Over Creation by Ruth Ozeki (2003). A tribe of neo-hippie activists roam the rural U.S. in a biodiesel powered RV, then team up with a messianic Christian, seed-banking farmer to resist the incursion of genetically engineered potatoes into Idaho’s farmscape -- and the debt peonage such patented seed crops impose on once-independent growers.

The Company You Keep by Neil Gordon (2003). Radical, Vietnam-era fugitives once associated with an organization not unlike The Weather Underground recount a tangled tale of outrage, despair, responsibility, love, and unlikely loyalties that led antiwar activists to plant bombs, rob banks, abandon children, and spend decades continuing to fight for justice under assumed identities. Gordon’s novel delves deep into the character, motivation, and human flaws of pre-apocalyptic heroes.

The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey (1975). In this classic of pre-apocalyptic fiction, four riotously eccentric characters commit acts of ecological sabotage to stymie destructive “development” of wilderness in the southwestern U.S. Their high-spirited acts of environmentalist defense walked out of Abbey’s pages to inspire EarthFirst! and allied bands of loosely-organized monkeywrenchers, who continue to wage asymmetric warfare on behalf of forests, deserts, rivers, exploited animals, oceans, and biodiversity.

So what do readers get from pre-apocalyptic fiction that isn’t on offer from stories set in a future, fully-broken world?

Hope.

Not hope as a bolted-on, deus ex machina sweetener at the end of a fundamentally bitter tale; but hope as a vision of the qualities a reader might cultivate, and of how she or he might apply those qualities to help pull humankind and our one-and-only biosphere out of a terrifying and deeply consequential nosedive.



This post appeared as a featured blog in The Huffington Post on 1 October 2015: Pre-apocalyptic fiction: staving off catastrophe.

Related posts on One Finger Typing:
When tree flakes make governments quake (it's Banned Books Week!)
Pre-apocalyptic fiction: The Jaguar's Children by John Vaillant
Robert Redford, the Weather Underground, and why we read books



Wednesday, September 30, 2015

When tree flakes make governments quake (it's Banned Books Week!)

Somehow or other I managed to release Consequence during Banned Books Week, the American Library Association's annual celebration of the freedom to read -- this year that'd be Sept 27 - Oct 3. So I had a good look at the books on Wikipedia's list of books banned by governments (as opposed to the site's list of books that are challenged by miscellaneous groups and agencies).

Bans on books in this list for their supposed "obscenity" just make my eyes roll. Not that such bans aren't foolish and narrow-minded and culturally reductive. It's just that thinking of, say, Joyce's Ulysses or Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales or the Fifty Shades... books as obscene in the age of ubiquitous online pornography strikes me as more than a little bit futile, dated, and out-and-out silly.

Here are books that stood out for me in Wikipedia's list:
  1. Rights of Man (1791), Thomas Paine
  2. The Jungle (1906), Upton Sinclair
  3. The Grapes of Wrath (1939), John Steinbeck
  4. Animal Farm (1945), George Orwell
  5. El Señor Presidente (1946), Miguel Ángel Asturias
  6. Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), George Orwell
  7. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1962), Alexander Solzhenitsyn
  8. The Gulag Archipelago (1973), Alexander Solzhenitsyn
  9. Burger's Daughter (1979), Nadine Gordimer
  10. July's People (1981), Nadine Gordimer

What do these books have in common? What I see is that these are books that were banned because they made governments or social elites worry about their grip on power and privilege.
  • Thomas Paine's Rights of Man was banned first in the U.K. (which charged the author for supporting the French Revolution); then in Tzarist Russia following the Decembrist uprising in 1825. The monarchists worried when Paine's ideas -- particularly that "a general revolution in the principle and construction of Governments is necessary" -- circulated among the masses.
  • Similarly, Animal FarmNineteen Eighty-FourOne Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, and The Gulag Archipelago offended and threatened post-Tsar autocrats in the U.S.S.R.
  • Upton Sinclair's The Jungle -- which portrayed the exploitation of immigrants in industrialized U.S. cities and the horrors of the early 20th century meat-packing industry -- struck the autocrats in East Germany as "inimical to communism." Whatever that might mean, exactly.
  • Nadine Gordimer's Burger's Daughter and July's People threatened the apartheid South African state by critiquing its brutal institutionalized racism.
  • In The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck gave a clear-eyed view of how California received refugees from the collapsed farming communities of Dustbowl-era middle America: inhumanely and selfishly. (Sound familiar?) In any case, the people of Kern County didn't like how Steinbeck portrayed them.
  • Miguel Ángel Asturias, in El Señor Presidente, described the dictatorship of his native Guatamala so incisively that the country's autocrats prohibited its publication for thirteen years.
Books -- black ink daubed on bleached tree-flakes -- are more powerful than their constituent parts might suggest. They have been used to great effect to expose ugly truths about power. The examples above are just a tiny fraction of a very long list of books that have guided and strengthened people in resisting constraints on their self-determination. For those who wield power, this has been and continues to be a problem. For the rest of us, it's something closer to salvation.

I think it's a happy coincidence that my novel makes its debut during a week when readers consider the written word's power to overturn an intolerable, seemingly implacable status quo. The characters in Consequence would likely agree.



Related posts on One Finger Typing:
Hanging friends' art in fiction
Robert Redford, the Weather Underground, and why we read books
Surveillance and power through fiction and fact: Max Barry's "Lexicon"
Banned books week: Joyce's Ulysses



Tuesday, September 29, 2015

CONSEQUENCE has arrived

(I can't tell you how much I've wanted to type that blog title ... for a very long time.)

And it's so: Consequence is available now!

Readers can find my debut novel online, on the shelf at selected stores, and by special order at any bookstore in the U.S. The book is available in paperback and e-book formats.

Here again is the capsule description:
San Francisco activist Christopher Kalman has little to show for years spent organizing non-violent marches, speak-outs, blockades, and shutdowns for social and environmental justice. When a shadowy eco-saboteur proposes an attack on genetically engineered agriculture, Christopher is ripe to be drawn into a more dangerous game. His certainty that humankind stands on the brink of ecological ruin drives Christopher to reckless acts and rash alliances, pitting grave personal risk against conscientious passion.
Online vendors include Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple's iTunes store, Kobo, and Smashwords. Amazon and Barnes and Noble sell Consequence both as a paperback and an e-book.

Most any bookstore in the U.S. (and many abroad) can special-order Consequence in paperback if they're not already carrying it: please ask!

If you're in the East Bay -- and can't hold out until my launch party on October 18th (RSVP on Facebook) -- you can find Consequence on the shelf at Diesel Books, Moe's, any of the three Pegasus stores, or Books Inc on Shattuck @ Vine.

In San Francisco, try Modern Times or Books Inc at Opera Plaza.

Wherever you are, if you read Consequence and like it, please consider posting your review and rating on Amazon and Goodreads -- or wherever you like to post about what you read -- and sharing it with your social networks.

Here's what some early readers thought:
“I couldn’t put Consequence down! Masover vividly evokes San Francisco’s radical sub-culture in this tautly authentic and finely-crafted novel. Consequence asks thorny, essential questions about personal responsibility and the role of violence in movements for social change.”
—Sam Green, Academy Award-nominated director of The Weather Underground

Consequence is a great read, full of building tension and excitement, written by someone who really knows the activist scene, with its moral dilemmas and its ideals. But this isn’t just a book about activists—Masover writes about conflicts central to the human situation.”
—Starhawk, author of The Spiral Dance and The Fifth Sacred Thing

“. . . exciting . . . a great read . . . reminiscent of The Monkey Wrench Gang.”
—Scoop Nisker, author of If You Don’t Like the News, Go Out and Make Some of Your Own
Let me know what you think of the book: here in the comments, on my Facebook page, or by posting a private message from my web site. I'll be posting some of my ideas about Consequence over the coming weeks, and would welcome your questions.




Related posts on One Finger Typing:
Hanging friends' art in fiction
It's a book! CONSEQUENCE coming in October [...]
Pre-apocalyptic fiction: The Jaguar's Children by John Vaillant