Welcome to my Moonbox: a gathering of musings, learnings, and aspirations held (perhaps, sometimes only briefly) by the many expressions of me, Sarita.
From the desk:
Writing prompt: In "Map of Echoes" by Meera Subramanian she writes a line that I will cut the end from — "We call out, and what returns in the echo..." — is what? To prove the past, I've shouted. My voice ricochets. What returns in the echo is myself, a dismembered tongue and throat that feels more round, blown out, like the way the atmosphere warps or scatters starlight into something reddened and dimmed. It is good to remember how my voice sounds. That I have a voice at all. From a mouth of the earth that isn't mine, the sound feels deepened, embossed with the textures of whatever walls, spread out, hollowed. It is just like memory and how I fall into its trance. It allures me to recall again and again. And all I want is to surround myself with its sounds. This is the shape of you, dressed in your voice. But is this the only way in which time works? What happens if the echoes come first? Starlight ricochets and suddenly you have come to fruition. Would you recognize what you hear? What if, in moving toward it, you find yourself traveling back in time? Except, to you, you have only traveled forward. Except, somehow, you find yourself swirling up your own throat. I've shouted. My voice ricochets. What returns in the echo is myself...
[Related: Moonbox Notes #12]
Life updates: There isn’t much to report. Winter has been long here in Durango. Last week, another storm arrived. Patrick and I were dog and house-sitting in Forest Lakes, a neighborhood outside of Durango that we dream of owning a home in. When the roof would shed its snow it sounded like thunder. The blind dog liked to curl up at my feet. The seeing dog, by the wood stove. The scrape of the shovel became its own mantra. At night, it was truly dark. Even the trees disappeared beyond the orb of porch light. But you could still hear them in the wind.
In town, the trails are finally melting. Today, I hiked across mud both frozen and partically thawed, across leftover snow piles trapped beneath perpetual shade. The sun is higher in the sky and my body is telling me that it is spring. My pace quickened at the thought of soon knowing these mountains more intimately. Elation is a good word for this. From the soles of my shoes to the length of my ponytail. Just pure, sun-drenched elation.
La Vida Mundial:
Since March is Women’s History Month, I’d like to share a few things, like this article in Women’s Running Magazine by Zoë Rom. Rom pulls away the façade that marketing and branding have over abstract things like, “empowerment.” What is true empowerment anyway? According to the data, men still dominate. “True empowerment is neither a cute, nor a marketable idea,” Rom states, “It shouldn’t be non-threatening or commercially successful. It should be seen as threatening because it does threaten the status quo and current systems of power.” Of course, Rom isn’t the first to sound the alarm in this way, but the fact that it needs repeating is a testament to the enduring exploitation that capitalism instills. Too, this all, of course, applies to diversity. To so many facets of society and economy, actually. Even the climate crisis.
Intersectionality: “the complex, cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, and classism) combine, overlap, or intersect especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or groups.” – Merriam-Webster
There have been many, many books written about how media and marketing have treated, talked about, or gaslighted the climate crisis or feminism or diversity (and if you know of some, drop them in the comments!). But the point is, as “International [blank] Month” or “[Blank] History Month” celebrations become more and more “marketable”, it’s important to remember why they exist to begin with: to disrupt the usual narratives of whiteness in America. Of ablism. Of privilege. Of power. Of ignorance. Of individualism. All things that require real, person-to-person action to actively disassemble or mitigate or understand in context. Like dialogue. Education. Voting. Collaboration. Community. Listening. Decolonization. Not seasonal product sales or self-help gimmicks or short-lived/fad-fueled brand ethos. Ay!
I’d like to make a shoutout to Laura Cortez, a community builder and athlete, among many wonderful things, for being selected into The North Face Athlete Development Program. The roster announcement was made last month, but I’d like to create some space for her here and now. I recently listened to Becca Jay’s podcast You Are A Big Deal episode from February wherein she interviews Cortez. Check it out, and congrats again a ella! I secretly (not-so) wish to create a Trailtinos-like running group here in Durango. Vamos.
HBD to all March birthdays!
Recent Top Pick Reads:
+ “It’s Time to Rethink the Idea of ‘Indigenous’,” by Manvir Singh, The New Yorker, Annals of Inquiry, Feb 20, 2023. A really interesting discussion about the word, its history, and its problematic relationship with colonialism. Notably, the author seeks to comprehend the enduring obsession with “primitiveness.”
+ “Our World, Ourselves,” by Clinton Crockett Peters, Creative Nonfiction Magzine, Issue 76, Exploring an Expanding Genre, Winter 2022. Peters chronicles the adaptations of the genre throughout the decades as humans have to confront, reconcile, and reconceptualize the changing landscapes of our world and how we write about them. “As scholar Sara Spurgeon has said, ‘Wildernesses were not unpeopled but rather de-peopled.'”
+ “The Site of Memory,” Toni Morrison, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Blog Archive PDF, excerpt from Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir, 2nd Ed, 1995, 83-102. A very interesting and insightful look at the differences and relationships between fact, fiction, and the ultimate journey (& purpose) of truth.
Books/Mags on the Shelf:
+In The Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
+Imaginary Peaks by Katie Ives
+Creative Nonfiction Magazine, Issue 76, Winter 2022
+ “Know to Run – Yatika,” Rising Hearts, YouTube, Episode 1, Mar 3, 2023. This short film highlights the need for representation in ultrarunning but also the importance and impact of following through with land acknowledgments, particularly in race spaces. In the context of the famous Western States 100 miler, Yatika Fields endures a journey into his identity as an artist and runner in the inaugural GU Energy Labs + Western States + Rising Hearts indigenous runner initiative.
+ “Zoë Rom,” BeRad The Podcast with Cat Bradley, Apple Podcasts, Episode 13, Mar 1, 2023. Ultrarunners and writers Cat Bradley and Zoë Rom discuss productivity, self-worth, feminism, and the honesty of being human in the context of U.S. culture.
+ “Running the Grand Canyon with Brandon Dugi (Diné),” REI, YouTube, Feb 10, 2023. Trail runner Alan joins Brandon Dugi for a journey across the Grand Canyon to learn about some of the local indigenous culture and people, and to also celebrate the traditions of running.
+ “The Border Crossed Us,” All My Relations Podcast with Desi, Adrienne, and Matika, Jan 14, 2022. CONTENT WARNING. In this special episode, AMR team member Jon Ayon creates an audioscape piece to investigate the humanitarian crisis at the southern border, documenting and exploring the traumatic realities of how the border and its policies have disrupted indigenous lives, movements, and ecosystems.
+ “Dr. Maya Angelou at Evergreen, ‘Rainbow in the Clouds.’” The Evergreen State College, YouTube, Feb 18, 2007. Renowned author, poet, and legend, Dr. Maya Angelou gives a touching and poignant speech at the college full of stories, jokes, and history.
Writing/Projects: (updates are highlighted)
+I currently have zero general submissions in the ether.
+ “When We Visit,” a short creative nonfiction essay for Campfire Stories Volume II anthology: Finished stage. The book is due to come out this Spring, 2023.
+The hybrid essay I wrote in 2021, “Chuckwalla,” still needs some major revision before I consider submitting again. I’ve begun another research/writing phase as well.
+I’ve begun a new short fiction piece with a temporary title of, “How I Came To Be.”
+My online writing course with Orion Magazine, “Writing Resilience through Our Relationship with Wildness,” has been postponed until September 2023 due to the instructor having a family emergency.
+I have a Science Fiction novella that I’ve been slowly working on since 2017.
- Hmmm…let’s see. This month, I was kind to myself about a strained adductor muscle in my right thigh. Kind enough to let myself take two weeks off from running to let it heal. It’ll still need some more time, but it’s a functional injury, which means I can use it gently and mindfully as I return to running. I will also continue to do cross-training activities to ensure I don’t overdo the come-back. I have endured so many running injuries! So, accepting and allowing this break to happen has probably been the easiest it has ever been. And that’s something to celebrate!
Thanks for tuning in to Sarita’s Moonbox.
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