Essay: The Mother Tongue

On why women’s initiation stories require a uniquely feminine language.    I gave my mother a copy of Women Who Run With the Wolves for her birthday when I was 16. It was both a well-meaning and a snot-nosed, prescriptive gesture; My mother was and remains a hard-line pragmatist who once dismissed psychotherapy as a […]

Objects of Faith

The following is an introduction I wrote for photographer Jim Lommasson’s exhibit ‘Heaven and Earth,’ an exploration of symbols and images used in worship. The dash board Madonna and the snow-globe Christ, the yucca leaf and the antelope horn, the flower, bell or candle – all the objects of faith – represent and activate a lived […]

Book Review: The Radiance Sutras

Translation as Rapture: The Radiance Sutras by Lorin Roche In the fall semester of my junior year of college I embarked on a six-month study abroad program in India. Towards the end of the trip I stayed in Varanasi, the “holiest of the seven sacred cities,” where I, as a Religious Studies major, earnestly gorged on […]

This is Your Therapy on Ecstasy

You might have seen the large corrugated cardboard yurt across the dusty haze of the playa at Burning Man. Inside you would have discovered Burners in various altered states attended to by a cadre of sober volunteers soothing, hydrating, and otherwise being present with the the ‘trips’ of their respective charges. The ‘Zendo,’ as it […]

Mira’s Story Part 1: Aftershock

The following is the story of Mira,* an ethnically Muslim woman who lost her infant son during the Balkan War (1992 – 1995) and left Bosnia with her family in the hopes of making a better life in America. Here she is interviewed at her home in Utica, New York. Part of a project that features the voices and narratives of refugees, it is also a meditation on displacement and the role of storytelling in healing trauma. 

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Mira’s Story Part 2: The Arrival

The Bosnian War (1992-1995) left 2.5 million people displaced from the former Yugoslavia. Forced to flee their country as refugees, many found themselves scattered throughout the United States in major cities and suburban enclaves, trying to build new communities while still healing from the traumas of war. Utica, a cash-strapped industrial city in upstate New […]

Bosnia: The Memory and Imagination of War

What happens after war? The following is part of an ongoing project that features the voices and narratives of refugees in America. I’m interested in how people rebuild or reinvent their lives after war and displacement, what enables people to transform pain, and what keeps them fragmented by the past.  In early April of 2012, […]