Posted by: Sarah | June 22, 2010

Hope Fires in the Desert

I was recently invited to be a guest essayist for The Heart is Not a Size blog. Beth Kephart’s book of the same title received this praise by the The Washington Post: “Nuanced characterizations and lyrical writing distinguish Beth Kephart’s oeuvre, including this third YA novel, The Heart Is Not a Size (HarperTeen, March 2010).

I champion the support and national awareness of the hardships and turmoil afflicting our border communities. Living in El Paso with Juarez, Mexico, just outside my back door, I feel a responsibility as a writer and community member to give a testimony of what I experience on a day-to-day basis. Not what I hear on the news or read in the papers, but what I witness firsthand. History shows that in the end, those will be the tales that move mountains and ignite change. Simple people giving an account of their daily lives, caring for their neighbors, and seeking more from the world as it stands.

Here’s the beginning of my post, you can read the rest at The Heart is Not a Size blog.

Yours truly, Sarah

Hope Fires in the Desert by Sarah McCoy

Across the border in winter, Juarez families burn trash to keep warm. Smoke rises liked dirty cotton candy spun heavenward in hot plumes. Driving around the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), you smell it before you see it. Ripe and burnt, it assaults. You wriggle your nose, hold your breath, circulate your car fan and press on the gas pedal to get away, pass the unpleasantness. From my El Paso home, five miles west, I can see the gray tunnels like circus tent stakes holding up a cherry pie sky, Mount Cristo Rey cloudy in the distance, the giant stone Jesus with arms flung open.

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