do you still

do you still look
into those
tucked away places

small streets
and alleyways

seeking feral
cats and their
kittens

do you still seek
with hunger
the possibility
of strangers
becoming
not

are you still
open
to wonder

the way
you once
were?

if so,
please
explain
the way

tell me how
to go back
to that place

from which
they’ve said

there is
no
returning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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make / mend

Hello readers.

Another year, another chapbook. My latest is called make / mend

after-the-election-excerpt-narinda-heng

[image: a photo of my piece, ‘after the election’, held open above a tiny airplant in a small ceramic planter, and a collection of river stones]

I’ve opened an online shop to make it easier to purchase and support my work.

Click the image below to take a visit.

Long Cool Hallway Online Shop

[image: a screenshot of my online shop, showing four brightly-colored chapbook covers and one muted, brown-colored cover]

It took me a long time to open a shop. One roadblock was choosing between different services and websites. Another was setting prices for my work. Yet another was taking photos and writing descriptions of my work.

It is a labor-intensive process, doing these things on my own. Going through the collecting and editing process, sorting out what I would like to make from all that I write over a given period of time, sometimes digging far back in my archives here, in old documents, in old notebooks, in old email threads.

And it is a lovely process, though one that I rarely invite others into. Only a handful of people have read drafts of my chapbooks. I’d like to be more intentional about inviting people into my process. There is great value in having people’s insight on my work in those formative times.

We don’t have to figure it all out ourselves. We don’t have to figure it all out alone.

Now, as ever, we need one another.

You, reading this: I am grateful for you.

-n

turning inward to turn outward

It has been a long time since I addressed those who follow my posts directly.

Ever since I left the community of The Undeniables, this site has been different; an abstraction of community, an abstraction of sharing, more ethereal than a place where I would share work with people whom I might later see in a cafe, in a bar, in an organizing space.

It has been five years since my last participation in The Writers Workshop, and in that time, I’ve moved away from Los Angeles, cultivated a livelihood as an outdoor educator and transcriptionist, and gained a passion for working with clay.

Amidst all of that, the writing has continued. Here, in private email circles, in the pages of notebooks and journals. I’ve continued to work on my chapbook-every-year-forever goal, which has been a way to reflect on the year, to look back on the writing I have churned out over time and collect it all in some coherent manner.

Having made 5 of these collections over the last 6 years, all while still striving to post new work with some frequency, has taken a toll. It has made me question why I am posting, why I am writing, for whom and for what I am writing. As always, the goal is to share, to be radically open. Yet I still hit the wall of what meaning does it have if I have not cultivated a real community here?

All this to say that I am going to be changing things around here a bit, and setting an intention to write as much privately as I have previously posted here, and to make chapbooks that are more intimate and cohesive. That by sharing less, I will be able to share more.

I’ve realized, thanks to people who have asked me what draws me to make pottery, that the common thread in all of the work that I do, be it writing or climbing or backpacking or ceramics, is intimacy.

It is the end of November. Much has happened in the last 3 weeks. Making beauty and making connections is important as it has always been. I am working on my 2016 chapbook. I hope that you are giving yourself permission to make art, writing, food, whatever you need to do to find strength and fire and comfort for yourself and your loved ones and your communities.

I hope that you’ve found some here.

– narinda

2.

the first step
is recognition:

that there are those
to whom the
hostility
of this country
was never
disguised
as a welcome hand

the legacies of war
live on
in our bones
in the land

of the lies
that we’ve been told
the greatest
is that the war
on this land
ever stopped

that the invaders
still commit
quiet,
slow
massacres

and every
so often
we are pulled
to pay attention
to the noise.