“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” ― Jimi Hendrix
Welcome to the March 2022 newsletter from Dragonfly.eco, and thanks so much for subscribing. It’s been such a weird and harrowing few years, and each day brings new tragedy, whether with the war, the climate, or the health front. I just want to send good vibes to everyone and wish you the best. I think during these strange years, we have to be resilient as possible in the face of horror but also need relief, even if just for an hour or two, a minute or two. Whether that’s love, a good meal, a funny movie, or a friend who will listen. What’s that old Irish saying?
May the winds of fortune sail you,
May you sail a gentle sea.
May it always be the other guy
who says, 'this drink's on me.'
March Book Recommendation
I read Jewell Parker Rhodes’ Paradise on Fire recently, and it took me back to my younger years and a few visits out West that our family took, which eventually motivated me to move to California and later the coast of western Canada. The memories of meeting friends at camp, being in the outdoors, and having such great epiphanies about the power of the natural world came flooding back as I read this book. I think the novel is primarily aimed toward teenagers, but it is for every age.
This contemporary story is about Black city teens who take part in a wildlife camp out west, when, into their adventure, a wildfire threatens the ranch where they’re staying. In particular, it follows a young woman who has nightmares about being trapped in a house fire when younger and losing people she loves. To cope, she is an escape-route artist. She can still hear the loving and sage life advice her Nigerian grandmother Bibi has given her throughout the years.
When I was growing up, climate and ecological horrors were there but not as evident as they are today. Issues when I was a kid, however, were definitely on my mind. I spent my childhood as a young activist and lover of everything outside. Wild horses couldn’t drag me out of forests, lakes, rivers, and oceans. Today’s scene is much worse in so many ways for youth. And I think that Jewell does a great job of introducing a climate activist and young heroine. I remember my literary heroes, but don’t quite recall too many of them dealing with environmental tragedies. Maybe it wasn’t as big of a thing when I was a kid. So I’d recommend this book, no matter your age.
I began my new book Elk Stories, which I've teased about for a while. You can read more here. It is partially inspired by real experiences in my life, mostly from the wonderful memories I have of visiting the eastern Kentucky Appalachian area when growing up. It’s a story about climate change twisting our traditions and about family strength in time of hardships. Although this story has been on my mind for about a year, I didn’t begin writing it until a Writers for Ukraine initiative began this month. Together, we wrote over two million words (one million was the original goal), and I believe the last donation count was close to £15,000.
The March world eco-fiction spotlight heads to China with Cynthia Zhang's After the Dragons. What I found so interesting in our talk was the difference between mythologies of Eastern and Western dragons as well as what it’s like to publish with a press that focuses on climate and ecological subjects in fiction and follows an ethical and environmental publishing model to boot.
A new Backyard Wildlife post is up. It's pretty simple this month. I'm dreaming of our spring gardens and jasmine. I’m also happy to say that since writing that post, we now have a bat box! Bats are extremely endangered here, and bat boxes offer a safe place for them to live. The image of the jasmine is by Motaz.alsakran.
Our Turning the Tide children, teen, and YA feature has several updates, including the Cynthia Zhang spotlight and a few awesome new links.
The Rewilding Our Stories Discord is rocking these days, with nearly 200 members who engage in interesting conversations in various channels, especially the popular solarpunk channel. We also have some exciting news coming up, but I'll detail it more at the website near the end of March. If you do join the Discord, please be sure to follow the Carl-bot’s instructions on what to do next.
I follow #WomansArt on Twitter, and they've always posted amazing stuff, a lot of it related to nature. Check out their Ukrainian woman's art. Beautiful.
New and upcoming books to pay attention to: The Doloriad by Missouri Williams, Eleutheria by Allegra Hyde, two novels coming this fall by Cormac McCarthy, My Volcano by John Elizabeth Stintzi, Mad Honey by Katie Welch, Strange Fire by Joel Burcat, Revelations: Horror Writers for Climate Action by Seán O’Connor (I’ve got this on preorder), and more. Check out the website for more.
Emergence is offering a free online course for nature writers. Register on their events page.
LitHub has an article about Ursula K. LeGuin. It's about an essay she wrote called "Being Taken for Granite".
Ashland Creek Press announces the Siskiyou prize winner and finalists. Each year, Ashland Creek Press rewards the Siskiyou Prize to an environmental author. Winners receive $1,000 and a two-week residency at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology.
In case you’ve missed these exciting resources at Dragonfly, which are constantly being updated, check ‘em out!
World’s biggest playlist? Our environmental/nature song-of-the-week playlist, which goes back to 2016.
List of eco/climate films and documentaries
Eco-fiction links and resources
Book database (with over 900 titles)
Turning the Tide: The Youngest Generation (fiction aimed toward children, teens, and young adults)
Indie Corner: The occasional hats-off to authors who publish independently
Backyard Wildlife: A hidden gem exploring how we are rewilding our own backyard and meadow
Artists & Climate Change. This is an extraordinary resource delving into all kinds of the arts focused on climate change. For a while now they’ve been rerunning my world eco-fiction spotlights. Recently they’ve made me a core writer for their team, and I’m both honored and grateful. Look for my “Wild Authors” series there.