creative nonfiction

To Grow a Whisper: Lisa Mecham

I’m excited to present my first addition of “To Grow a Whisper,” a series of literary spotlights devoted to (mostly) emerging writers. I hope in this space you’ll find a kindred spirit, someone whose writing inspires your own literary aspirations.

There are several things I can say with certainty: 1) You will like Lisa Mecham’s website. It reveals itself like sleight of hand and yet never feels like deception. 2) You will like Lisa Mecham’s writing. With one line like the smallest hammer she can find the fault and shatter us. “At times we were happy, I swear it,” she writes in the lyrical, nonfiction piece “Reckoning” over at Midnight Breakfast, and I am instantly there with her, equally in need of the memory of happiness. 3) You will like Lisa Mecham. Go read this interview with her over at Midwestern Gothic. Look at that picture of her as a child. Try to tell me you’re not charmed after that one-two combo.

Lisa is a talented multi-genre writer, the type of writer a reader should seek, but more importantly perhaps is the fact she is the type of reader we should all strive to be. She reads with elation poetry, fiction, nonfiction, even the occasional screenplay. If there is something sumptuous she will share it. And to have someone share with such joy and excitement a piece they admired whether a poem, a movie, a song or story…that is nourishing. In the literary world, like other competitive arenas, many people want a piece of the pie. I’m extremely grateful for people like Lisa who so often turns to the person next to her and says, “Have you tried this? Here, take this bite.”

Wearing a Mask of Your Own Face: On Persona, Race, and Identity

Not too long ago I published a (craft/lyric) essay on persona, race, and identity. It was lucky enough to find a home on Brevity’s (a great online journal of creative nonfiction) blog. You can read it here if you like.

I wanted to share the news since it came out but couldn’t quite find the words I wanted to introduce it. I wanted to say more about masks, about how even the body can be trained into a costume. I wanted to talk more about identity, about being biracial and my fear of “passing,” though to be honest as what I have no clue. I wanted to confess all the ways I still try to remain invisible or hide behind persona but secretly hope you meet my gaze, which is how most masks give the wearer away.

What I mean is here I am. I want to give myself away. Look me in the eyes and don’t blink. Not even once.