The Endling: Facing Extinction Denial in the Eyes of the Last Vaquita @ Orion Magazine

This essay (published at Orion Magazine this week) began as a poem I couldn’t finish. I wrote the first lines in the back of a classroom at a Lidia Yuknavitch craft talk. (I was stalking @lidiamiles in Denver after a jury rejected my application to be in her workshop.) In the back of a grotto I wrote into a prompt that left the pages of my journal wet. When Lidia asked for volunteers to read, I raised my hand. It was the first time I had ever raised my hand in a writing class. When I was called upon, I tried, but choked. Could not muster the voice to make it past two sentences. Since that day, almost six years ago, I have written ninety thousand words into that unfinished poem. It still chokes me, over and over and over. But it turned out that unfinished poem was a portal to a collection of essays—one of which (linked above) the lovely people over @orion_magazine published today. So I’m throwing gratitude to all those in that grotto (real and extended community) who—when I raised my hand and cried—touched their own faces. And cheers to everything born of rejection, wet pages, un-mustered voice, and to the doors we find in the middle of poems we can’t finish.

(Extra special love to the mentors/writers/editors who helped me shape this piece: @bklorenbooks@kate_moses_writes@bgresko@amontei@oksanamarafioti@otterdown. Extra-extra special love to my daughter’s godmother who dropped everything to draw me the last Vaquita (and other illustrations) featured in this piece. A kiss to my husband @slade.o who loves me through all my eco-distress and writing-angst tears. And ALL my respect to @oona_layolle and @seashepherd for DOING the work I just write—and dream—about.)

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