This chapter is an excerpt from A Woven World. Set in Paris and Lyon, it tracks my journey in search of my great-grandmother who was a dressmaker for Empress Eugenie in France’s “Second Empire” and my celebration of makers.
An excerpt from A WOVEN WORLD, this chapter was inspired by the magnificent Yves Saint Laurent “sardine dress” exhibited at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
“Made from black silk crepe, its surface is covered with an imbrication of black and pewter beads, the fish scale motif created with blue, gray, black, brown, silver, and opalescent gelatin sequins. The colors are so subtle that they bleed into one shimmer like the disappearing light a herring casts as it darts through the water.”
Tune in to our December 3, 2020 conversation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAW5UhKu9Hg
Adam and I talk discuss my forthcoming book A Woven World, fishermen, women forgotten in history, how and why I keep journals, and more.
Though Zoologies: On Animals and the Human Spirit will publish this fall, you may be eager to get your hands (and eyes) on some of the essays appearing in the book before it comes out. Here are a few of the book’s prose pieces now available or out soon. Enjoy!
“The Pony, the Pig, the Horse”
“Patativa, Chimera, Bobcat”
The Georgia Review
“The Owl, Spotted”
Fall 2006 : OnEarth
“The Animal Spirit”
“The Cheetah Run”
Terrain.org: A Journal of the Built + Natural Environments
And three excerpts available on this website:
“Cormorant,” “My Cat Jeffrey,” and “Dogtags”
Bobcat photo by Kramer Gary, courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
A winter storms into its galactic arms. New York City took a major hit. I happened at the time to be on Grand Manan Island watching the Bay of Fundy churn, the surf rake rock against rock on the Castalia shore in front of my home.
I’d come to my family’s retreat in Atlantic Canada for a much needed week of writing. I was reading an essay by one of my Tucson students about gang life in the city. “If he was going to slang,” she wrote, “he’d better get strapped up.” A drug dealer was out for justice over the mismeasure of his goods. He was heading for a club, armed and righteous. This is not fiction. This is the daily life of one student, a woman who comes to class wearing a white wife-beater that showcases her spectacular tattoos. She has a smile as warm as Oprah. Sometimes there’s a sheepish quality to it, as if she’s asking, “What am I doing in this movie?” She knows how to use a Glock. “You’re gonna need it,” her boyfriend said, looking after her. She’s lost so many friends to the street, she’s afraid to count them. Still, she feels pride in belonging, hanging with a guy who wants to put Tucson on the map, wants to make it as badass as L.A. or New York.
Alison Hawthorne Deming’s essay, “Culture, Biology, and Emergence,” part of the Georgia Review’s Spring 2009 issue feature entitled “Culture and the Environment—A Conversation in Five Essays,” was awarded the Best Essay Gold award from Magazine Association of the Southeast’s annual GAMMA Awards competition.