New column at The Rumpus!

New column at The Rumpus!

I’m excited to share that the first installment of my new political column, TURNING PURPLE, is up at The Rumpus! I’m a longtime fan of The Rumpus and thrilled to be a part of the team. The Borderland is the first of many hot button election issues that I’ll cover between now and November 2020.

“The personal is political” is a phrase that was popularized by feminist Carol Hanisch in 1969, and this first installment is a walk through my own story as a border-dweller and the deep roots of this country’s dehumanizing immigration policies. Artist Dara Herman Zierlein’s vivid artwork captures the energy of the border crisis and the beauty of the desert.

Read it at The Rumpus.

“I just poured myself a big mug of mofo…” Read it on Instagram.

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GUN REFORM NOW

GUN REFORM NOW

As of this morning, the US has been home to 255 mass shootings in 2019. Private guns have killed more people since 1960 than in all of our wars combined.

2 days, 2 cities, 2 mass shootings in the US. How long will it take Congress to stop this? In the words of Dr. King: “How long? Not long, because no lie can live forever.”

This is not hopeless. We are not helpless.

How long does it take to walk from the NRA to GOP headquarters? 90 seconds. How long does it take to march from the NRA to the Capital Building to The White House? 61 minutes.

What can we do?

  1. We can call.
  2. We can write. (Inform yourself of the facts, invite your friends to meet you at a coffee shop, and send a postcard.)
  3. We can take turns. Pick any one of these 198 Methods and do one a day. Share them with your friends, and ask them to do one thing a day. Ask your friends to ask their friends to do one of these methods a day. When you see any of these methods in action, share it with everyone you know, and participate if you can.
  4. We can march.

About the 3.5% Project

Research has shown that no repressive regime has survived the active sustained participation of just 3.5 percent of the population. There’s a playbook to fix this, and every week, I’m blogging a new method. Subscribe to receive your weekly method.

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Method 40: Religious Processions

Method 40: Religious Processions

I went to bed furious and woke up afraid. Now that I’ve had my coffee, I’m back to rage. The footage of the crowd shouting “Send her back” at last night’s campaign rally has brought back the fear I felt in November 2016. We have every reason to be afraid. And we must fight this.

As Lidia Yuknavitch often reminds us: “The voice is a muscle.”

The reason I started the 3.5% Project is because the 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action have been proven to work. Research has shown that no repressive regime has survived the

active

sustained

participation of just

3.5 percent of the population.

In this country, that’s 11 million people. Each of the 198 methods can be used at any time, in any order, by anyone:

writers/teachers/bartenders/nursepractitioners/softwaredevelopers/realestatebrokers/dogwalkers/undewriters/policeofficers/yogainstructors/landscapers/firefighters/hairstylists/audiologists/pharmacists/architects/chefs/prisonguards/pizzadeliverydrivers//humanresourcesmanagers/actors/scubainstructors/librarians/psychicmediums/estheticians/airlinepilots/morticians/trainconductors/accountants/personaltrainers/veterinarians/dentalhygienists/sexworkers/fulltimeparents/currentlyseekingemployment/notseekingemployment/myjobdoesnotdefineme/financialadvisors/occupationaltherapists/engineers/physicians/equestrians/bakers/opthamologists/phlebotomists/zookeepers/translators/judges

and members of the clergy.

(Method 40.)

All of us.

More than ever.

Method 40: RELIGIOUS PROCESSIONS

In April 2019, more than 1,000 parishioners made a Palm Sunday procession to a century-old Catholic chapel on the U.S.-Mexico border. Father Roy Snipes, known as the “Cowboy Priest,” led the procession as he does each year, but this year, the march took on new meaning. If the border wall is built, not only will it limit La parishioners’ access to La Lomita chapel, it will also cut off access to city services like 911 for people living on the other side.

From NPR: Mary McCord is a senior litigator at Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, and she’s one of the lawyers representing the diocese. She says the church argues that the wall is inconsistent with Catholic teachings, “which includes this principle of universality that all people are equal and need to be treated as such, and provided with basic necessities of life. (The Historic Chapel At The Heart Of A Legal Fight Over The Border Wall, NPR)

The next court battle will be over the government’s plan to seize the land and start building.

WHY NONVIOLENT ACTION WORKS:

Before I move onto my writing day, I want to mention a recent example of Method 39 in action. When used as a vehicle for political protest, parades call attention to a particular grievance or point of view. A week ago today, the U.S. Women’s World Cup Team was honored with a ticker-tape parade in New York City to the cheers of “EQUAL PAY!”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was in the parade celebrating with the team, and during the festivities, he signed an equal pay bill into law. Do you see the kind of power we hold? It reminded me of the first parade for women’s suffrage in Washington, DC in 1913. There were an estimated 10,000 participants, some of them U.S. senators and representatives who marched in support of their wives.

When the people in power join together with activists, change happens.

Watch this video before moving on with your day, and then let’s turn this fear and anger into energy and action.

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New essay at Longreads: “The Brazilian Healer and the Patron Saint of Impossible Causes”

New essay at Longreads: “The Brazilian Healer and the Patron Saint of Impossible Causes”

I’m excited to share that my essay, “The Brazilian Healer and the Patron Saint of Impossible Causes,” has been published and featured on Longreads. This is not an easy story to tell, but it’s time. Here’s an excerpt:

The roosters started at 4:30 in the pasture behind the inn. On the second crow, I rolled onto my back and blinked at the jalousie window’s slatted light, considering my first day at The Casa. We were allowed to ask three questions, no more. A visit with the world’s most famous “spiritual surgeon” was like going to see the wizard.

Mariana was silent in the twin bed next to me, the sleep falling in loose spirals across her face. I pulled back the sheets and slipped inside. “Bom dia.”

“Bom dia, meu amor.” A soft sound from a distant place.

Seven and a half years later, I receive a text from a friend in Rio: “Did you see the news?” She links to a New York Times article: “Celebrity Healer in Brazil Is Accused of Sexually Abusing Followers.”

@Longreads.com

Read it on Longreads and if my story speaks to you, I’d be grateful if you would share it on Twitter. Thanks so much for your support all these years – I’ve got more exciting writing and publishing news coming up soon!

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Method 39: Parades

Method 39: Parades

As I’m gearing up for a patriotic movie night with neighbors (Jaws, Lincoln, Independence Day, Hidden Figures), I thought it might help to share some ways to celebrate the best of who we are. Sending love and solidarity to all of you – with all of us pitching in, clearer skies are ahead.

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What’s on my Nightstand: June 2019

What’s on my Nightstand: June 2019

Nonfiction / Memoir

City of Dreams, by Tyler Anbinder

The Electric Woman, by Tessa Fontaine

On Being Human: A Memoir of Waking Up, Living Real, and Listening HardOn Being Human, by Jennifer Pastiloff

From Dictatorship to Democracy, Gene Sharp 

Fiction

The Monsters of Templeton, by Lauren Groff

Quiet Creature on the Corner, by João Gilberto Noll

Short Fiction

The Rule, by Frances Donnelly

Brawler, by Lauren Groff (The New Yorker)

When the Tide of Misfortune Hits, Even Jelly Will Break Your Teeth, by Porochista Khakpour (Gulf Coast)

Poetry

Still Life with Oysters and Lemons: On Objects and Intimacy, by Mark Doty

Call Me by My True Names, by Thich Nhat Hanh

In Full Velvet, by Jenny Johnson

Essay (Selected)

I am Coming for You, by Tammy Delatorre / Winning Writers

What does it mean to be a “real” mother? by Tanya Friedman / Motherwell

SHRINES. BONES. RELICS. by Anne Gudger / Equinox Poetry and Prose

The Sorrowful Mysteries, or Reasons I’m No Longer Catholic, by Kathleen McKitty Harris / Longreads

The Thread: On Justice by Marissa Korbel (The Rumpus)

I’ve Got Dreams He’ll Never Take Away; or, I Know My Childhood Molester Is Reading This. He Has Read Everything I’ve Ever Written. He’s Always Looking For His Name: It Starts with a B, by C. Russell Price

Graphic Novel

Pitch Black, by Youme Landowne and Anthony Horton

“[Landowne and Horton] collaborate here to bring Horton’s story of perseverance and hope to print, and the fluid black-and-white sequential panels tell it well. The horrors attendant on homelessness are not sugarcoated, and the language is as raw and gritty as one might expect. Powerful.”—Kirkus Reviews

On the subway, do ever notice that people are always looking, but they only see what they want to? Things can be sitting right in front of them and still they can’t see it.

Interview / OpEd (Selected)

WHY WE NEED STORIES: A PEN TEN INTERVIEW WITH SOPHIA SHALMIYEV, by Camilla Bober

Meet the power couple taking over Seattle sports (and the World Cup): Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird, by Stefanie Loh / Seattle Times

Voices on Addiction: A Conversation with Amber Van de Bunt, by Kristen Casey / Curated by Kelly Thompson / The Rumpus

18 Questions. 21 Democrats. Here’s What They Said. The New York Times

How a Young Joe Biden Turned Liberals Against Integration, by Jason Sokol / Politico

Magazine / Newspaper

Lesbian Connection: free to lesbians worldwide, but the suggested donation is $7/issue (more if you can, less if you can’t), May/June 2019 issue

The New Yorker

The Week

TIME

The Normal School: A Literary Magazine

Random

Babo Botanicals Daily Sheer Non-Nano Zinc SPF 40 Fragrance Free Mineral Sunscreen

hydrangea blossoms

HURRAW! moonbalm

organic peach pit

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Method 37: Singing “Hey Baby!”

Method 37: Singing “Hey Baby!”

The images of the Trump Baby balloon flying over London all week have made me downright jolly. Sky News even released a promo video that feels like the trailer of a horror movie.

The citizens of Brighton made great use of Method 37 during Trump’s first visit to the UK in 2017. The melody the of 1961 classic, “Hey Baby!” is a popular football chant, but in the new anti-Trump rally cry, protestors sang:

“Hey Donald Trump (oooh, ah!)
I wanna know why you’re such a c*nt!”

Singing has a long history as an effective method of nonviolent action. Protestors have burst into song to interrupt unwanted speeches or to spread ideas during marches or public events. Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh has written about the use of singing during the Buddhist struggles in South Vietnam in 1963:

Political satirical songs are easy to learn by heart and can be circulated very quickly. They were widely used during the struggle against Ngo Dinh Diem [who was ousted as head of the government in 1963]. There were hundreds of them. The most famous was “nghe ve, nghe ve, nghe ve, Nhu Diem”, a song dealing with the corruption of that regime.

The Specials’ song Free Nelson Mandela was released in 1984 as part of the bloodless revolution that ended apartheid in South Africa in 1990. Listen and imagine the rallying, unifying effect of such a buoyant sound. To read more examples of Method 37, see my Instagram post about an event that occured during Nazi-occupied Poland eight months before D-Day.

In the midst of my Trump Baby glee, this anniversary is a grim reminder that democracy is not something we can take for granted.

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