An NPR story includes one of my favorite lines from Paul Fleishman: "I grew up in a house that might have had the only front-yard cornfield in Los Angelos." The line makes me imagine the wildness and freedom and fun or his family. Fleischman's novel, SEEDFOLKS, is featured in NPR's Back Seat Book Club for the month of April.
I'm working with the wonderful writer, Annie Sibley O'brien and extraordinary writer and marketer Kirsten Cappy, to create a web site featuring books and events-around-books to build bridges among people of many cultures. SEEDFOLKS has to be number one on the list. The novel is made up of small short stories, many in the voice of immigrants from different parts of the world. Oh, and they each do carry a yearning or a sorrow of some kind but there's magic in a community garden where they find themselves working and growing things. They feel a power from working in the dirt - or sometimes from working side by side - and they know the feeling of how a shift in awareness makes your life different. Listen to Marciela. She's from Mexico. She's 16 and pregnant and "fat as a wrestler" and angry. The black woman working the nearby plot knows she does not want that baby. She tells her "how nature ran on sunlight and rain and the seasons, and how I was part of that system. The words sort of put me in a daze. My body was part of nature. I was related to bears, to dinosaurs, to plants, to things that were a million years old. It hit me that this system was much older and stronger than the other. She said how it wasn't some disgrace to be part of it. She said it was an honor. I stared at the squash plants. It was a world in there. It seemed like I could actually see the leaves and flowers growing and changing." Marciela was a seedfolk on their common land. Happy spring!