Greetings. I write from the past (at least a few months prior to when you are reading this). With the speed of news these days, there is something a little comforting and quaint to me about sitting down to write these notes. We received fewer messages this time, considering, well, this time. My heart is with all of you experiencing hardship and pain, whether related to the pandemic or this enduring crisis of racism and racist violence. While I don’t have the lived experience or wisdom to speak too meaningfully to either, I’ll recommend the Harvard Implicit Bias tests for those of us who are white and haven’t already checked them out: implicit.harvard.edu.
Thank you to those who were able to write in and/or modestly agreed to let me share their news.
Lerner/Carolrhoda has bought Emily Barth Isler’s debut middle-grade novel, After/Math. When 12-year-old math whiz Lucy moves to a town that experienced a devastating school shooting four years ago, she must navigate her classmates’ lingering traumas as well as her own grief over a very different family tragedy. Publication is scheduled for spring 2021; Bradford Literary Agency handled the deal for world rights.
Emily says, “I will be doing a post-pandemic book tour and hope to see as many Wes alums as I can in the various cities I visit. I will also be doing school visits (and school Zooms!) so if any librarians or middle school teachers out there are looking for authors to visit classrooms, please be in touch!”
Michael Homolka continues to teach grammar and critical writing at Sponsors for Educational Opportunity in NYC. On the creative front, some of his recent poems have appeared in The Antioch Review, Colorado Review, and Prairie Schooner. “Most importantly, my wife and I have welcomed into the world our beautiful son, Alejandro, who laughs often at our inanity and already loves to play guitar.”
Andrea Donnelly has good news: “After an over 20-year study of myriad energy healing modalities, herbs, flower remedies, and meditation, I officially launched my healing arts business, We Are Here 2 Remember, this summer. I specialize in helping people navigate change and transition, and managing the complexities of modern life. I offer personalized individual sessions, coaching, ceremonies and distance healing. I have always been intellectually and spiritually curious, and deeply committed to the marriage and integration of the two in my own life. I am beyond happy to offer what I’ve learned to others. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or wearehere2remember.com to book a session or find out more information!”
Mary Robertson is continuing her work as an executive producer with the New York Times Presents, and raising Malcolm (five) and Maxine (almost two). I’m always excited and never surprised to hear about Mary’s achievements, which include multiple Emmys for her team this year. The episodes, which include a searing piece on the killing of Breonna Taylor, are streaming.
Woody Fu will be performing in the New York ABC Discovers Talent Showcase.
Don Kim moved to Los Angeles and hopes there will be in-person alumni events soon!
I (Mara) have a new position as acting director of parole advocacy for my public defender agency. The job has ballooned since COVID-19 compelled the courts to consider more that can be done to assist prisoners, who have no chance of social distancing or proper PPE and very high levels of risk due to age and health conditions. While working from home with a little kid present can feel really hard, the stories I’ve heard from incarcerated parents remind me to hug my kid tight and appreciate the sheer amount of times I get to hear that little voice say “Mama” per day. Yesterday he managed to record the word onto his light saber toy, and hearing it distorted, sped up and slowed down as he slayed the air, seemed like a fitting tribute to all of us working caregivers during this surreal time.
Mara Voukydis | email@example.com
Aryn Sperando | firstname.lastname@example.org