The night the blister beetles swarmed, we’d had a quick, early dinner at a restaurant down the road. We were seven Peace Corps volunteers in Mali, West Africa, spending the night at the Mopti stage house, a mid-county bunkhouse for those of us in need of a night away from the village or a place to lay our heads before continuing south to Bamako. We bought big bottles of Castel. The resident volunteer pulled out his guitar. The night promised Kumbaya—not the cynical version of today, but honest togetherness.
What can we do to adjust to this new surge of negativity? I’ve been trying to conceive of a thoughtful reaction for a while now. My process is far from complete, but I am beginning to see progress and the outlines of a workable strategy.
First, I diagnosed myself. After some research, I am hovering around the term “negative news fatigue,” of NNF—and yes, it’s a thing. The obvious fix: Stop or limit consumption of the news. The obvious flaw in this obvious fix: these are historic times (they truly are)…
Out of the Fog
Out of the Fog is a 54,000-word speculative fiction novel set in the abandoned city of San Francisco in 2091. The earth’s population has been decimated by climate change, and, as our protagonist, Army Colonel Graham Snow, knows all too well, the worst is yet to come. As part of a positive media campaign, designed to give hope to the hopeless, Graham is required by the U.S. government to host a reporter and her technical assistant for two days at his water production facilities. The reporter, the famous and stunningly beautiful Peggy Lee Swenson, seems to take an immediate and surprising liking to Graham. She is attentive and flirtatious as they tour the facilities. He begins to fall head-over-heels for her, but, just as he is about to bare his soul to her, he finds out that she is not who she appears to be.
To read Out of the Fog, click below and navigate the “Blog Archive” menu, which will allow you to access all of the chapters and my two open letters to Congress.
Statement of Purpose
for MFA at San Francisco State University
Cat: Let’s make it catchy, right from the start. You know, with just the right amount of creativity to get the readers really excited about your application. Maybe begin with a haiku?
Me: A haiku, huh? You really think so?
Me: Something like this?
Alone at keyboard,
Characters speak and take flight,
Cat purrs on warm lap.
Small child weaves out loud (as I interlace)
Santa Claus’s childhood
Two lima-bean teeth
AC off into sunshine
He lived with his mom and dad
Four hot feet on narrow concrete
In a winter forest all alone
Ferns developing eyes
I think he killed his mother