Monday, January 31, 2011

Q&A: Ana Maria Spagna

Ana Maria Spagna won the the 2009 River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize for Test Ride on the Sunnyland Bus, an account of her search to understand her father's role in the civil rights movement.

In 1957, her father, Joseph Spagna, rode a bus in Tallahassee, Florida, with five other young men who planned to get arrested and take their case to their U.S. Supreme Court. In her book, Spagna chronicles her journey to learn what really happened. Last fall, from her home in the remote town of Stehekin, Washington, she answered some questions about how her book came to be.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Dillard's Cat Box

How We Begin

My daughter-in-law stood next to the bathtub holding a bottle of bleach and plastic gloves. From the living room I could see Anna, her long legs and blonde locks. She wore an old gray sweatshirt and tight jeans, and even with my professional background as a midwife, I could hardly tell she’s expecting. 

My son and his wife had learned that pregnant women should avoid exposure to the cat-carried protozoan, toxoplasmosis, and its chemical destroyer, chlorine. Still, it had taken three days of Anna gently, but repeatedly mentioning the week-old litter boxes. And now, with four cats in their one-bedroom apartment—windows closed against January—the fetid fumes had become too much. Even for Jake.