Diaspora & Immigration Series

Episode 8: The Elusive Burmese from Liminal Space

We take you into the world of a Burmese woman’s quest to piece together the fragments of her identity as Su Su Maung. We also learn about how that quest led her to found the Myanmar-based psychological consulting firm, Citta Consultancy. Citta helps empower the people of Myanmar with social and emotional intelligence so they can heal, transform, and grow to reach their fullest potential and contribute to the development of their country. […]

Podcast

Episode 7: Motherhood

Motherhood has often been considered a pinnacle of wisdom and serenity, a sort of joining together of all those parts of ourselves in lesser focus. But in truth, motherhood opens more doors than it closes. It is an endless series of complications and ambiguities that are put into sharper relief by the arrival of a daughter. What emerges from the following four stories is this precise push and pull, pondered through the lens of devotion and loss, of privilege and resentment, of injustice and forgiveness. […]

Podcast

Episode 6: The Imperfect Art of Medicine

Why is it so hard to change people’s minds and behaviors with new facts? We explore this question through pediatrics. In 2015, after a landmark medical study proved that the early inclusion of peanut in the diet of infants prevents peanut allergy, Ron Sunog, MD, set out to develop a great first peanut food for infants. When most physicians and parents did not embrace this important new information, Dr. Sunog was determined to understand why. Dr. Sunog joins me to discuss his new book, Eat The Eight. […]

Salvator Rosa, "Three Figures Around a Globe," 1615–73.
Diaspora & Immigration Series

Episode 5: Transracial Adoption

We continue our episode 3 discussion on mixed-race families by digging into transracial adoption. Nicole Zelniker—whose book, Mixed, was the focus of that episode—joins me to interview Leah Whetten-Goldstein about her experience being adopted from China into a white, Jewish family in North Carolina. We discuss side-effects, critiques, misunderstandings, and assumptions surrounding transracial adoption, as well as the beauty of being in a mixed-race family. We get a glimpse into Whetten-Goldstein’s struggle to find an identity growing up in a predominantly white community as an adoptee, and she shares the wisdom she’s gathered along the way. […]

Podcast

Episode 4: Systemic Abuse of Women

We share four essays included in Mireya S. Vela’s forthcoming book, Vestiges of Courage, Collected Essays—a collection of personal essays that explores inequities and injustice. Ms. Vela discusses how the systems in her family and in society worked to create an abusive environment that felt crushing, confusing, and hopeless. In her book, Ms. Vela delineates her experience of living through sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. Ms. Vela wants to know how and why abuse thrived in her family. […]

Podcast

Episode 3: Mixed-Race Families

Journalist Nicole Zelniker, author of Mixed, takes us on personal journeys to help us glimpse into overlooked worlds so we can more fully grasp what it means to be mixed. Zelniker spoke to dozens of mixed-race families and individuals, as well as experts in the field, about their own experiences, with the hope to fill a gap in the very important conversation about race in the US today. […]

Ep. 2: Mireya S. Vela's Vestiges of Courage
Podcast

Episode 2: Mireya S. Vela’s Vestiges of Courage

What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? Mireya S. Vela is that woman. In this long-form interview, we discuss her art, creative nonfiction, social justice, motherhood, womanhood, being marginalized in the United States, and her new book, Vestiges of Courage: Collected Essays, which we, The Nasiona, are happy to be publishing in April of 2019.Vestiges of Courage is a collection of personal essays that explores inequities and injustice. Raised between two cultures and two languages, Vela discusses how the systems in her family and in society worked to create an abusive environment that felt crushing, confusing, and hopeless. She delineates her experience of living through sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. This book is much more than a collection of experiences, though. Ms. Vela wants to know how and why abuse thrived in her family. She digs deep to understand why these things happened and how she survived. […]

Podcast

Episode 1: IM John Donaldson’s Chess World

Do the stereotypes about chess and chess players have any validity at all? Through the eyes of John Donaldson (International Master and chess writer, journalist, coach, and historian) we get a behind-the-scenes look at the most popular game of all time to see if chess really does transcend language, age, race, religion, politics, gender, and socioeconomic background. We also get some interesting anecdotes about Bobby Fischer from his biographer, as well as try to answer the following questions: Is chess a sport, art, or a science? What is the role of computers in the game? How much do privilege and belief play into improvement? How has who plays chess today changed over the decades? […]

Columns

Words from Elsewhere

To keep with the spirit of Otra Parte, I’d like to share my list of readings from elsewhere. These are readings that tackle what it means to be the Other, expose us to extraordinary worlds, and/or disclose interesting, at times iconoclastic, perspectives that end up feeling (or at one time felt) foreign when compared to mainstream and conventional thoughts, behaviors, and codes of conduct. […]

Joanna Staniszewski, “Watson,” oil painting.
Columns

The Nasiona’s Origin Story

In this keynote speech, I, as founder, speak about The Nasiona’s origin story, the role of creative nonfiction in today’s conflict-ridden world, why I deem The Nasiona an unconventional journalism organization more so than a literary project, why I embrace the subjectivity of human experience to get a better vantage point of our condition as humans, how The Nasiona digs deeper into the who and the why than traditional news sources, and how the voices and stories The Nasiona shares and promotes helps build bridges between strangers. […]

Photograph of Heidi Harris, by Jendog Lonewolf.
Columns

The Tall, Tall Tales of Heidi Harris

Heidi Harris is a self-taught musician and vocalist whose creative practice is based on an exploration and intermingling of traditional and non-traditional sound sources. A child of New Weird America, New Hampshire-based Harris is known for coloring outside the margins. Let’s put our feet on the ground with them red heels on and let’s go and row … row into dreams, comforting haunts, and sensations of being young or of some psychedelic foreign place with Harris as our tour guide in this two-part series of interviews. […]