Writing News

In writing news, I just sold a short story titled “Mind the Gap” to Interzone! They’ve published some of my writing heroes so that’s very exciting.

Another story also just won an Honorable Mention from the Writers of the Future Contest.

All around a very exciting week for me!

Great Nat Geo article on Looting Maya artifacts

Excavation of the Los Arboles structure at Xultún uncovered numerous painted sculptures.

This is a great article on the National Geographic Daily News: Losing Maya Heritage to Looters.

One of the issues near and dear to my heart is cultural heritage. The theft of Maya antiquities is a massive problem in Central America and Mexico because there are literally thousands of temples and even major cities out in the remote jungle. As an archaeologist, I weep at the idea that these incredibly important artifacts are being torn from their context. It kills me to imagine looters blasting open burials with pick axes and hammers.

I’ve actually been to Xultún (the city featured in this article) since it’s not far over the Guatemala border from where I worked in Belize. When I went, I saw a few looters’ trenches but it sounds like it has been hit hard since then. Ugh.

But, I also appreciate how complex this issue is. Local economies are depressed and there is a source of money just buried out there in the ground. Is the information available from those antiquities really more important than the lives and stable income for modern people? I don’t think so.

Photograph by David Coventry, National Geographic/Ministerio de Cultura y Deportes, Gobierno de Guatemala

Maya woman called to Bar in Belize!

This is so exciting! This is how lasting change in the status of indigenous communities happens so YAY for Monica Coc Magnusson!

“Monica Coc Magnusson, the sister of noted Maya rights activist Christina Coc, made legal history today as the first member of the indigenous Maya community of Belize to be called to the Belize Bar…

While she has not been formally asked to join the effort of the Maya to secure communal land for the 38 Maya villages of South Stann Creek and Toledo, she says she will treat all her cases as “big ones.”

She says her efforts are a signal to Maya women that they have other trails to blaze in what has been a traditionally agriculture and land-oriented community with few educational opportunities for girls.”

The Danger of a Single Story

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is absolutely one of my favorite writers out there right now and her TED talk on the dangers of telling a single story is incredibly moving and important.

I spend a decent amount of time thinking about writing, how to write well, why to write, etc. This talk has probably had more impact on me than any other single piece of advice on storytelling — especially in terms of writing about people “not like me.”

Some random things I think are cool.

I’m home sick (screw you, virus) and thought I’d post some writing inspiration/things I just think are cool. I imagine all of these will eventually make it into my writing in one way or another.

The Teddy Girls
Photo by Ken Russell
In a short, photo-heavy article on the “The Forgotten 1950s Girl Gangs,” MessyNessy looks at the Teddy Girls, a British subculture from the 50s “characterized by an unlikely style of dress inspired by Edwardian dandies fused with American rock’n roll.” I love every single one of these photos.

Nepalese Honey Gatherers
Photo by Andrew Newey
“Twice each year, the Gurung tribespeople of Central Nepal risk their lives collecting wild honey from the world’s largest hives high up on Himalayan cliffs.” How is this not the most beautiful thing ever? I already know exactly where and why this will be in one of my novels.

All of Andrew Newey’s photography is really stunning.

Video about Astronaut Ronald McNair

Ronald McNair was one of the seven astronauts killed when the Challenger shuttle blew up just after take off. I clearly remember this happening (yeah I’m old, get off my lawn!). McNair’s story as told by his brother, Carl, in this short video made me cry all the tears. Also, shout out to StoryCorps that recorded this – one of my favorite ongoing ethnology projects.

Azerbaijani Dance

WTF, this is…amazing. Give it a minute to pick up.

Illusion Songs

This Tumblr is a collection of auditory illusions that are just mind blowing. The internet has introduced me to many things I didn’t even know I love until I found it on the interweb. This tumblr features everything from North Carolina Hollerin, Russian panpipes, beatboxing, classical composers, and Tuareg vocalists.

Behold – Octopuses!!! (My previously unknown phobia.)
Though the internet has introduced me to many wonderful things, it has also introduced me to a new phobia that I doubt I would have ever even known about were it not for my exposure via the internet.