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Nonfiction Matters
Inside Nonfiction Matters

Mary Beginnings and Rain

Latest from Mary on her Kenya Work in Progress:

I began this yesterday and this morning was delighted to see Marc’s “In the Beginning” post. These days I am re-reading, or studying the form actually, of NF books that will give me ideas for organizing this mass (mess?) and telling Jackson’s story, which is representative of the Maasai living in harmony with nature. I’ve been studying Black Potatoes, Hitler Youth (both Bartoletti), The Life & Death of Adolph Hitler (Giblin) and Race (Aronson). I’m also reading Writing Creative Nonfiction, a term I’m not fond of, but the book has a lot to offer. And I’m following the “Risk” thread here because young people need background information but they don’t need dry, textbooky stuff. So much to ponder….

I’ll end with an e-mail from Jackson. His interesting news always gives me the impetus to move ahead. He is now at Siana Springs camp where he works. “We are getting heavy rains almost every day.” These are what they call “the long rains” that lead to the rejuvenation of the plains and the return of much wildlife after months of hot, dry weather. He went on to say that his 1-year-old daughter doesn’t understand and is afraid during the storms and his mother’s house leaked terribly so wife Susan and his mother “went up on the roof to smear fresh cow dung to try to seal the cracks.” The houses are made of termite-resistant branches smeared with cow dung sometimes mixed with dirt. They are sturdy, comfortable, and long lasting and not at all smelly. The result feels and looks amazingly much like cement. But even cement cracks eventually.