Category Archives: Literary Environmental Nonfiction

LONNOL Events

WIZ Valentine9

WIZ’s heart and LONNOL Month is officially open.

We’ve received a few tokens of affection but are longing for more. Please search your files for poems, short fiction, short essays, mp3s of readings of your work or of other work that’s in public domain, your original artwork, etc. and send them winging our way.

Along with submissions from our readers, we’ll have a winter wonderland/fond feelings haiku chain, to be initiated soon.

Also, February 24th is WIZ’s birthday. We’ll be four years old. To celebrate, we’ll be offering one or more of WIZ’s old movie giveaways. Giving our readers presents on our birthday is something we really enjoy doing. To “win” an old movie, all you’ll have to do is read each movie’s review and comment in the comment section. WIZ will contact you with further instructions about how to receive your free DVD.

It has been a hard, difficult, overlong (some would say interminable) winter. Let’s use February to warm things up.

Field Notes #13 : Spider in the hand of a goodly snow

800px-Crab_spider by RedRue

Polar fleece. One of the best.  Inventions. Ever.

My admiration for this virtuous fabric prompted me to do a bit of research on it. On Wikipedia, I came across this: “Aaron Feuerstein [inventor] intentionally declined to patent polar fleece, allowing the material to be produced cheaply and widely by many vendors, leading to the material’s quick and wide acceptance.”

What a lovely man for doing this for us.

Until recently, my polar fleece jacket has been out of commission, in need of repair. I’ve been wearing an uncomfortable coat—the shell, actually, from my husband’s coat—made of polyester. The coat is much bigger, heavier, and longer than my fleece jacket but nowhere near as warm. Continue reading Field Notes #13 : Spider in the hand of a goodly snow

Field Notes #12: Who Has Seen the Wind? (Pt.3) by Patricia Karamesines

Desert storm with rainbow

This is the third part of a three-part entry. To read part one, go here. To read part two, go here.

Glancing at Belle, I can tell she needs water, and soon. I lead her away from the beaver ponds before she’s tempted beyond her ability to resist to drink from its giardia-laced teapots. I hurry her to the shade of a big juniper, another of my stops, and sit down in the dirt beneath a broken branch that hangs across the trail. Obviously, Belle needs more water than I can provide by cupping my hand. I relent and pour her a drink in the canteen lid. She laps four or five lids full then lies down in the shade without my prompting, her shoulder pressing against my knee. She pants rapidly but seems to have gotten enough to drink, refusing another offered lid.

Looking around inside the juniper’s shadow, I notice a single penstemon blossom, looking like a wind sock on a pole, glowing red against the litter. Its color leaps to the eye from a backdrop of live blue-green and dead brown juniper stubble; last year’s curled, tawny oak leaves; green wisps of grass growing in a clump; spider webs clouded with dirt and other debris; and round, purplish-blue juniper berries dropped into grey-toned soil speckled with blacker grains, probably of decayed organic material. From somewhere up-canyon, a canyon wren’s laugh pipes its downward-falling scale. Continue reading Field Notes #12: Who Has Seen the Wind? (Pt.3) by Patricia Karamesines

Degrees of Coyoteness by Patricia Karamesines

Coyote_arizona

This is a rewrite of a post published here on WIZ that I’m including in my book Crossfire Canyon. I’m posting the rewrite today in response to finding a bounty-killed coyote on this morning’s walk.

April 8, 2009. As I walked out of a nearby canyon last week along a trail where I had previously encountered a curious coyote, my nose detected gases given off by putrefaction. Somewhere nearby, bacteria were at work breaking down formerly living tissue to simpler matter, dispersing an organism’s worldly good to its biological heritors.

To this we must all come. But who has come to it now, and where?

Walking deeper into the field of decomposition gases, I searched the ground, guessing what I would find. I was approaching the gravel pit, a dumping ground for domestic and wild animal carcasses and the scene of occasional war crimes of the sort some people commit against animals. It’s common to find coyote remains around the pit, along with elk and deer carcasses, tree prunings, the ashes of bonfires, articles of clothing, and aerosol cans–the residue of “huffing” parties.

My eyes had difficulty picking out the body of the coyote because his full winter regalia of desert-soils-hued fur blended in well where he had been dumped against the weathered juniper barricade a rancher erected decades ago to prevent cattle from wandering. I’m guessing the coyote was an adult male because of the animal’s size. Wind ruffled the luxuriant fur, and my own hand felt drawn to touch. But I didn’t. Touching the coyote might spark a response that under the circumstances I wasn’t prepared to support. Continue reading Degrees of Coyoteness by Patricia Karamesines

Better and better by Patricia Karamesines

Wageningen_University_-_Building_Lumen2
Photo of Wageningen University Building in Lumen by Vincent is public domain via Wikimedia Commons Images.

In my quest for perhaps a wrongly-remembered story about beavers in Yellowstone National Park, I’ve watched several national parks shows, including Ken Burns’ America’s National Parks series. Since we finished that show–worth the watch, by the way–I’ve looked for other, nature-toned documentaries. We saw that Amazon Prime would let us view PBS’s Nature series for free, so we’ve tried settling into the 2012 season. The only time I watch television/movies is when I’m feeding my special needs daughter. Watching narrative takes parade across the electrified cave wall of our flat screen TV helps pass the half hour to hour thrice daily that I’m tethered to one spot while I get food into my daughter.

I haven’t watched Nature for 15 years, in part because I’m up to my neck in nature. Every day I’m at it–the struggles of helping my highly challenged family get through an hour, a day, a night, a week–hopefully, without losing anyone. When I watch TV, I really, really, really prefer something that engages me. Hard to find, me being the narrative maven than I am. We’ve watched maybe 6 episodes of Nature’s 2012 season now, and I’m pushing it to journey on. The overall poor quality of narrative in these episodes stuns me. The constant rhapsodizing on the more spiritually nourishing qualities of wilderness, even as we take in scene after scene of death and violence, is so lopsided that I think it does nature a profound disservice, forcing the behavior of other species into zoos of human thought. Not only does such captivating language do wild nature a disservice, I believe it’s doing human nature wrong. Continue reading Better and better by Patricia Karamesines

Torrey House Press issues call for environmental nonfiction

On December 27, 2012, Torrey House Press, publisher of Steve Peck’s novel The Scholar of Moab, among other fine works of literary fiction and nonfiction, issued a call for environmentally-oriented nonfiction. In its call for submissions, THP noted that while it can’t help but like and publish novels and short stories, the literary fiction genre is huge and thus an extremely difficult field in which to make a mark. THP’s thinking is that “Topical, environmental nonfiction has a smaller, more focused market in which it is easier to identify and reach interested readers.”

Acting on this strategy to achieve a workable balance between literary fiction and environmental nonfiction in its publishing line and to brand itself more conspicuously, THP is

calling for lively, controversial, leading edge manuscripts on topics like water catchment, public land use, environmental health, environmental economics, sustainable living, renewable energy, land use policy, the importance of wilderness, the trans-formative power of natural places, environmental building and landscape design, about how small is beautiful, the local food and business movement and other ideas of enlightened, sustainable living. (Torrey House Press)

This looks like a good opportunity for WIZ readers and writers to send work and see if it makes a good fit with THP’s goals. This little press looks to be putting every effort into becoming a literary mover and shaker in environmental writing and environmentally-based literary fiction and, as far as I know, keeps its authors’ interests in mind. Not every writer can say that’s true of his or her publisher. In fact, early last year, THP forged a new relationship with Minnesota based book distributor Consortium Book Sales and Distribution that it hopes will help it achieve its goals of continuing to evolve in a healthy direction. This is not only something they’ve done for their own good but to my eye appears an act geared toward looking out for their writers.

If you’ve been thinking of launching yourself and are looking for a publisher, try Torrey House Press. Check out their site. Have I mentioned that it was me that put Steve Peck onto Torrey House Press, which match-making resulted in the publication of The Scholar of Moab?  In May 2011, THP managing partner and publisher Mark Bailey sent an email thanking me for making the referral. So don’t write this opportunity off. I’m on to something here.

THP has a blog and other means by which you can get to know them. Click here for submission guidelines.