On the Borderlands

Uniformed men on horseback, lassos at the ready, chase brown and black people stumbling in the surging water of the Rio Grande near Del Rio, Texas. The photographs shock. They call up long-buried images. Of the Ku Klux Klan night riding. Of patrollers chasing runaway slaves. Of Native Americans and the U.S. Cavalry at Wounded … More On the Borderlands

Literature as Witness

Witnessing doesn’t always mean expressing words out loud. Or even in written form. You act as a witness, every day, in one way or another, merely by living. Witnessing can be as simple as waking before the sun rises, shuffling to the kitchen, waiting while the coffee gurgles through the filter, peeling a bruised banana, … More Literature as Witness

Truth versus Belief

The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over. ― Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda ___________________________________ I am a stickler for the truth. Or at least as much as any truth … More Truth versus Belief

A Trip to the Bathroom, Being a Reflection on the Passing and the Passion (and the red-walled toilette) of M. F. K. Fisher

The first guest post ever on Gherkins & Tomatoes! The following story comes from Leo Racicot, a talented poet and writer and friend of the famous author, M. F. K. Fisher. Ms. Fisher wrote extraordinary prose about food and life and everything in between. She pretty much started all the hullabaloo about food writing and … More A Trip to the Bathroom, Being a Reflection on the Passing and the Passion (and the red-walled toilette) of M. F. K. Fisher

Writing Memoir, or, Taking the Winding Road to All Those Forgotten Places

A clear conscience is the sure sign of a bad memory.― Mark Twain Memory is a fleeting thing. Fallible as memory can be, writers depend on it when writing memoirs. Everyone wants to write a memoir these days, so much so that examples have been multiplying exponentially since Mary Karr published her genre-upending memoir, The Liar’s … More Writing Memoir, or, Taking the Winding Road to All Those Forgotten Places

The Art of the Essay

I once thumbed through Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, skimming her seductive writing with the speed of a racehorse headed toward the finish line. Or at least the deadline for a book review due the next day. Years passed. Woolf’s essay became a feminist classic, a rallying manifesto for women intent on being … More The Art of the Essay