Article: Greedy Women In LitHub

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 1:05 pm on Monday, November 9, 2020

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I have a new article on LitHub, On the 19th-Century Food Writer Who Embraced Gluttony As a Virtue.

It’s about how I read The Diary of a Greedy Woman by Elizabeth Robins Pennell, which I loved… until I didn’t.

Notable In Best American Essays 2020

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 12:58 pm on Monday, November 9, 2020

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Hey! I have a notable essay in The Best American Essays 2020.

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Read The First and Last Lives of Jack London.

Article: Searching for Mary Austin in Alta

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 12:35 pm on Monday, November 9, 2020

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I have a new article in Alta on Mary Austin, the author of The Land of Little Rain, published in 1903. I went to the Owen’s Valley to trace Austin’s route through the area and found out some juicy things–a hidden child, unhappy marriage, hallucinations of angels helping her writer her work. She was a fascinating lady.

What’s The Story? Radio/Podcast!

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 1:52 pm on Tuesday, September 22, 2020

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I’m now hosting a radio show on 95.9 The Krush called What’s the Story?

Every Tuesday at 9 a.m. I’ll be recommending a new book to read.

And if you miss it, there’s also a podcast.

What?! Yes! Click the link to listen.

Article: Humboldt Grown

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 1:46 pm on Tuesday, September 22, 2020

For Alta, I wrote about growing up in Humboldt County, and the changing nature of the marijuana industry. Excerpt:

In 2019, my hometown, Arcata, in Humboldt County, California, removed the statue of President William McKinley that had stood in the central plaza since 1906. Arcata has long been an ultraliberal hippie haven, and the eight-and-a-half-foot bronze sculpture had presided over many a drum circle. I’ve seen bras hanging from McKinley’s hand and traffic cones on his head like a dunce cap. More than once, he has been covered by political banners demanding justice.

The vote to take down the statue was part of a nationwide trend to dismantle monuments of controversial figures. It was sent to Canton, Ohio, where the president is buried.

McKinley, who was assassinated in 1901, ran on a campaign to establish U.S. colonies, including Puerto Rico, Guam, and parts of Hawaii. Today his expansionist policies are viewed as racist toward indigenous people. I agree with that, but the removal of the statue doesn’t have the same symbolic power as, say, taking down monuments to Confederate soldiers in the South. McKinley never even visited Arcata. The statue was a sentimental tribute to a recently murdered president. As the years passed, its presence spoke more to Humboldt’s unique nature, as there’s a slight absurdity to an almost-forgotten president standing in the middle of a town full of bead stores and cannabis startups. The statue’s removal felt like losing part of Arcata’s personality, and I wasn’t sure what would be replacing it. It seemed like a tipping point of change that had been building since I left 20 years ago and was now showing itself in concrete ways. I wanted to know what that looked like.

Last summer, I went to Arcata to see the plaza without the statue.

Read it here.

Short Story: The More You Know

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 1:43 pm on Tuesday, September 22, 2020

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I have a short story in Raritan. It’s called The More You Know, and it’s about a ghost who’s also a valley girl. Excerpt:

Being a ghost is so bogus. Like, what is a ghost even able to do, you know? So I can flicker a light bulb. So what? So can, like, a loose wire. Most of the time when I do that, people think, “Whoa, something is wrong with the lamp.” Mega lame. Like, the major thing I can do cor-porally is the same as some wires.

Read it here!

Short Story: Breaking In

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 8:11 am on Thursday, August 6, 2020

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I have a short story in the Winter/Spring 2020 issue of Alaska Quarterly Review. It’s called Breaking In. Excerpt:

The ghost horses run at night. They’ve reverted to roaming the earth in troops, their gallop a rumble preceding trains and domestication. I heard them in the charred hills behind us, a cacophony fading to something primal, like ancient drum circles. It has been happening off and on throughout winter. They appear on barren, frosty evenings where in years past it would have rained.

Short Story: The Pigeon Carrier

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 8:02 am on Thursday, August 6, 2020

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I have a short story at the Atticus Review. It’s called The Pigeon Carrier. Excerpt:

The man wore a holey tee-shirt and a trucker hat over greasy hair. In one hand, he was talking on a cell phone the size of a child’s shoe. In the other, he was carrying a pigeon.

Short Story: Hand To Mouth

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 7:21 am on Friday, January 24, 2020

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I have a creepy little story up at Flash Fiction Magazine. Someone once told me this story permanently changed how they saw gloves. Read Hand To Mouth.

Article: Lost Beneath Lake Berryessa

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 4:23 pm on Sunday, January 12, 2020

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Check out my Alta article about the town of Monticello in Napa, which was turned into a lake and reservoir in the 1950s. Dorothea Lange documented the human and environmental toll that went into creating Lake Berryessa. Excerpt:

Goat Island in Lake Berryessa pokes up from the water like the crown of a hat. Beyond it, the hills are unusually triangular, coming to soft peaks instead of rolling mounds. Standing on the shore, I tried to imagine the island as it had been 62 years ago: not an island at all but the top of a hill. The lake is man-made, the result of a dam built across Putah Creek. The 1.6 million acre-feet of water cover a fertile valley and a town named Monticello.

The idea that there’s a town under a lake in Napa County, an hour-and-a-half drive from my house, was intriguing. Add to that the fact that Dorothea Lange, whose photographs humanized the Great Depression, shot a series on the flooding of the valley and the town, and I knew I had to see Lake Berryessa.

Read the rest here.

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