When I was in 4th grade, I moved from Mexico City to the sparkly city of Dallas, Texas–my first true America. I assumed I would be riding a horse to school. Alas. Last week, I was invited back to the Big D by the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture to speak about The Map of Enough. This place impressed me with the sheer scope of what they are doing and attempting to do–a lot of bridging. Bridge on, dear people. One man in the audience pulled me aside to say this (and I’m paraphrasing): “I don’t care for nature. I couldn’t build a yurt if my life depended on it. I’m a man in my late 60′s. I grew up in one place my entire life. And yet, your book really touched me.” Best reader feedback I’ve gotten so far…
The unbelievable Krys Boyd interview me here on KERA. Not only did she have the book covered in different colored tabs, she seemed to have memorized the entire story. Talk about being witnessed. Whoa.
Then I spent a day at Greenhill School, where I attended 4th through 8th grade. This is the place I learned to learn. It’s where a peacock chased me for what felt like miles. I ran hurdles on the track team (not sure I could jump a hurdle these days). It’s also the place I got my first period at age 12 during a final school award assembly–all over my seat, blood everywhere, and then had to walk up, exposed, to receive the Citizenship Award for the whole middle school. Awesome. These 9th graders are far wiser humans that I ever was at that age. Such an honor and privilege to spend time in conversation with them, and to hear their “place stories” and how complex and rich identity can be.
With our old old friends, Stan and Sheryl Hopkins, my mom and I (yes, she came with me!) snuck by our old house, drove down the alley and pressed our faces through a falling-down-fence to see the backyard, the tree of picnics, the small pool and even smaller diving board of many a sibling wrestle, the bushes, the everything. Somehow little has changed. The power lines my brothers and I used to climb on (Jesus) don’t look a day older.
Going away always makes coming home sharper somehow–sense sharpened, mind and heart alert and eager to touch back into a familiarity. On Saturday night, I heard Sherman Alexie speak and his transparency and humor lit me up inside. I spent Sunday weeding, planting, walking, and talking to my 2-year-old daughter about blood and how women, not men, have periods, because, yep, she asked.