Writing

For me, writing is a work of the heart, an attempt to use those “less obvious capacities” of the imagination to wrangle meaning out of the beauty, struggle, wonder, and pain that we find all around and within us. It is, in that sense, always an essay—a bold effort at accomplishing something that was probably never possible to begin with. It ignores our desire to define its worth, but we are so much richer with it than we are without it.

I write fiction, poetry, and essays. Below is a sample of my work:

The Land of Imaginary Things is a young-adult fantasy. Elanor, twelve, has lost her father, and with him her first and favorite playmate and fellow lover of stories. Her chest is tight and her life is cold. One morning she wakes to find herself in the Land of Imaginary Things, the land where all the things humans imagine—talking animals, cursed forests, immortal grannies—is real and alive. In Chapter Three, Elanor and Spriggledy, a half-panda/half-dragon imaginary creation of her toddler years, pause in their quest for the feather flower long enough to enjoy a night at Twillianne’s Inn—legendary for its remarkable location and fabulous food—and Elanor has her first taste of the “possibility of life” and the true power and beauty of the imagination. Click here to read the sample.

“Yours” is a short spiritual poem that was recently published in Tokens. Click here to read it.

“Zora Neale Hurston on Racial Identity, Ninety Years Later” is an essay I wrote commemorating the ninetieth anniversary of Zora Neale Hurston’s graduation from Barnard College and examining the continuing importance of her famous essay “How it Feels to be Colored Me.” It was published in 2018 by Columbia Review. Click here to read the essay.

Additionally, you can read more bits and pieces of my writing, reflections, and descriptions of my travels on my other blog: tenthousandli.me.