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Reblogged from: Wesconnect News. (Go to the original post…)

By A.N. Kini ’13 and Caroline MacNeille ’16

Wesconnect caught up with filmmaker Andrew Berends ’94 earlier this year at South by Southwest, where he premiered his latest documentary Madina’s Dream, a film about an ongoing and largely ignored war in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan. Though it is a film with an “inherently crushing subject,” The Austin Chronicle found that it is “presented with such care and curiosity that, although heart-wrenching, Madina’s Dream isn’t depressing. The film is lovely, actually.”

Madina, who was eleven when Andrew shot the documentary, is now thirteen and still in the refugee camp. Hundreds of thousands of civilians fled to the mountains or refugee camps following the continued violence after South Sudan became independent in 2011. This film builds a riveting narrative of Madina’s dream—a brighter future for her people—beginning with the startling image of “Toys of War,” clay recreations of the homes they left behind. The movie provides a poetic perspective on the toll of war, the people left in limbo, and the strength of these stories of home. At great risk to himself, Andrew follows these stories and creates one that may be even inspiring, a testament to the fortitude of the human spirit.

Andrew is a Brooklyn-based documentary filmmaker. He has made five feature documentaries in Nigeria, Iraq, Sudan and the Netherlands; these include The Blood of My Brother, When Adnan Comes Home and Delta Boys.

WESCONNECT: What have the last two years been like, working on this film?

ANDREW BERENDS: I started two and a half years ago––it involved a total of five months filming in Sudan: about one month in the refugee camp and four months in the Nuba mountains. It was physically the toughest film I’ve made. It was quite remote; there were very few places with electricity, but people there were incredibly hospitable and open to being filmed. They hadn’t been overloaded with cameras and journalists before.

There are 700-900 refugees crossing out of the Nuba mountains into Sudan everyday, almost doubling since I was there. This conflict involves ground fighting and aerial bombardment, and starvation. But at the same time it’s a forgotten war. Nobody really knows about it. That’s why I wanted to do this documentary.

WC: And you’ve done a lot of documentaries like that, what draws you to these kinds of subjects?

AB: Awful things?

WC: Yes, awful things.

AB: The first one I did, The Blood of My Brother, was in Iraq in 2004 and I was drawn to that largely because it was kind of the biggest story of the time for my generation, for whoever’s generation.

It was eight months into the war and I was Christmas shopping in New York when I remember feeling this disconnect, that our country was at war but it didn’t feel like it. I couldn’t help feeling that in Baghdad, it must have been very different. I wanted to close that distance. So I went to Iraq and once I was there, on the ground, I started to get my bearings and I made two films there over the course of six months. The second one was When Adnan Comes Home.

I loved it. It felt like something meaningful to do, and I thought I was good at it. I saw footage of militants in speed boats with these big guns in the Niger Delta––it was visually exciting. After researching the story, I felt that it was a globally important story about the human cost of the world’s unquenchable thirst for cheap oil. So I went to Nigeria for six months and shot a film in the Niger Delta where I lived, literally, in the jungle in militant camps. I finally got caught by the government, was detained for ten days and kicked out of the country.

WC: And a New York Times article was written about you.

AB: Yeah, which was probably the best publicity I ever had. Unfortunately the film didn’t come out right at that time. [laughs] I couldn’t quite ride that wave of publicity. It was awful. I was charged with espionage, which was absurd. I told them I was a journalist and they told me I was a spy. In the end, they didn’t have a case against me. Well, they kicked me out on visa charges and they weren’t completely… I had fudged it a little bit.

That film is called Delta Boys. Then I shot two films for another director and went to Sudan for an exploratory trip, which is how I learned about the war in the Nuba mountains. I was not ready to jump in and do another independent documentary because it takes a few years. It’s not a good way to make money. It’s very hard. It’s painful sometimes.

WC: And life-threatening.

AB: It’s life-threatening. Definitely there’s that. But I’m so glad I did it. I met these girls, Madina and her two friends Howa and Aziza, who had a story that needed to be told. It was almost a moral issue. I thought, “alright, someone has to do it, I guess that’s gonna be me.” And then I had to totally commit, spending four months with my translator, 24 hours a day together, working all day, finding places to sleep. We slept outside entirely.

WC: You said you did a thesis at Wesleyan?

AB: I did a thesis film. It’s awful. Have you seen it?

WC: No.

AB: It’s called The White Balloon. A poetic love story. I’d been watching Hal Hartley movies back then, that were understated and subtle and had pastel colors and mood. So it was kind of a nice film.

WC: Is there anything you know about Wesleyan that others may not?

AB: I’m a little ashamed of having been such a bad student at Wesleyan. There were a lot of distractions. There’s also this creative side, there are a lot of amazing students and teachers. So it comes back to me—I wish I had been a better student while I was there. But any crazy stories? None that I care to repeat.

Learn more about Madina’s Dream

Image: c/o IndieWire

Share this link: wesconnect.wesleyan.edu/news-20150722-andrew-berends

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Reblogged from: Wesconnect News. (Go to the original post…)

By A.N. Kini ’13

[Marisa Stotter '13]Marisa Stotter ’13, who moved to LA and jumped into filmmaking weeks after graduating, has exciting news: her first feature-length film She Makes Comics very recently won “Best Documentary” at Comic Con 2015, “arguably the mecca for comic book fans.” The film, directed by Marisa and produced by Patrick Meaney ’07, goes behind-the-scenes and interviews industry leaders and key women in the history of comics.

When I interviewed Marisa last year, she talked about how it was “a bit daunting to be helming a project…but also incredibly exciting,” and how she benefited from Patrick’s guidance and her work at Respect Films. Now Marisa reflects on winning the award, the production of the movie and her favorite moments:

[Patrick with the award]WESCONNECT: How does it feel, winning best documentary? What was the response like at Comic-Con?

MARISA STOTTER: It was unexpected, since we were competing with dozens of other films from around the world. But it makes sense that a movie like She Makes Comics would be recognized by Comic-Con International, arguably the mecca for comic book fans. It was really wonderful to be able to screen the movie there for an audience that couldn’t be better suited for the film’s content and message. Indeed, the film got a warm reception, and that was what we wanted to see the most.

WC: When I interviewed you for Wesconnect, you were still raising money for the film. Any particular moments in the production of the movie that stick out?

MS: Oh, so many. But one of my favorite moments that I’ll never forget is the lengths to which we went to get an interview with Gail Simone, whose schedule made it difficult for us to meet with her. We managed to set an interview with her at Dark Horse Comics up in Portland, and our cinematographer went to film it, but I wasn’t able to join in person. So I conducted the interview via Skype! It was a strange experience, but the interview turned out great.

WC: What’s the next step for She Makes Comics?

MS: With this award under our belt, we’re looking again into different distribution options to get the film out to a wider audience. We hope to share some more news on that front shortly.

Images: c/o Marisa Stotter

Share this link: wesconnect.wesleyan.edu/news-20150721-marisa-stotter

#THISISWHY

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[Facebook]Like She Makes Comics on Facebook ➞

[Twitter] follow @SheMakesComics on Twitter ➞

[Twitter] follow @marisastotter on Twitter ➞

Don’t have a Facebook account, but want to comment? Email us.

Reblogged from: Wesleyan Storytelling Project. (Go to the original post…)

This week’s story is from Annie Paladino ’09 and Miriam Krent ’09. Miriam and Annie met while working on a thesis production of “We Can’t Reach You, Hartford” their sophomore year.

“…so, Miriam was underneath the stage.”

[Annie and Miriam, senior year, fancy dress party]Since graduating, Annie has continued her work in theater, working as an actor, director, stage manager, dramaturg, and producer in the Bay Area and Seattle. She now serves as Associate Artistic Director with Akropolis Performance Lab. Annie also works in education, currently coordinating the Extended Day and Summer Programs at Seattle Waldorf School.

Miriam has been working as an elementary special education teacher at a public school in Brooklyn. This fall, she will begin a masters program in communication sciences and disorders at Teachers College to become a speech-language pathologist.

The Wesleyan Storytelling Project is produced by Mia Lobel ’97 and production intern Tess Altman ’17.

">Listen to the clip on SoundCloud…

Image: c/o Annie Paladino and Miriam Krent

Share this link: wesconnect.wesleyan.edu/storytelling-annie-paladino-miriam-krent-09

#THISISWHY

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Reblogged from: Wesconnect News. (Go to the original post…)

By A.N. Kini ’13

[Marisa Stotter '13]Marisa Stotter ’13, who moved to LA and jumped into filmmaking weeks after graduating, has exciting news: her first feature-length film She Makes Comics very recently won “Best Documentary” at Comic Con 2015, “arguably the mecca for comic book fans.” The film, directed by Marisa and produced by Patrick Meaney ’07, goes behind-the-scenes and interviews industry leaders and key women in the history of comics.

When I interviewed Marisa last year, she talked about how it was “a bit daunting to be helming a project…but also incredibly exciting,” and how she benefited from Patrick’s guidance and her work at Respect Films. Now Marisa reflects on winning the award, the production of the movie and her favorite moments:

[Patrick with the award]WESCONNECT: How does it feel, winning best documentary? What was the response like at Comic-Con?

MARISA STOTTER: It was unexpected, since we were competing with dozens of other films from around the world. But it makes sense that a movie like She Makes Comics would be recognized by Comic-Con International, arguably the mecca for comic book fans. It was really wonderful to be able to screen the movie there for an audience that couldn’t be better suited for the film’s content and message. Indeed, the film got a warm reception, and that was what we wanted to see the most.

WC: When I interviewed you for Wesconnect, you were still raising money for the film. Any particular moments in the production of the movie that stick out?

MS: Oh, so many. But one of my favorite moments that I’ll never forget is the lengths to which we went to get an interview with Gail Simone, whose schedule made it difficult for us to meet with her. We managed to set an interview with her at Dark Horse Comics up in Portland, and our cinematographer went to film it, but I wasn’t able to join in person. So I conducted the interview via Skype! It was a strange experience, but the interview turned out great.

WC: What’s the next step for She Makes Comics?

MS: With this award under our belt, we’re looking again into different distribution options to get the film out to a wider audience. We hope to share some more news on that front shortly.

Images: c/o Marisa Stotter

Share this link: wesconnect.wesleyan.edu/news-20150721-marisa-stotter

#THISISWHY

Related links

[Facebook]Like She Makes Comics on Facebook ➞

[Twitter] follow @SheMakesComics on Twitter ➞

[Twitter] follow @marisastotter on Twitter ➞

Don’t have a Facebook account, but want to comment? Email us.

Reblogged from: Wesleyan Storytelling Project. (Go to the original post…)

This week’s story is from Annie Paladino ’09 and Miriam Krent ’09. Miriam and Annie met while working on a thesis production of “We Can’t Reach You, Hartford” their sophomore year.

“…so, Miriam was underneath the stage.”

[Annie and Miriam, senior year, fancy dress party]Since graduating, Annie has continued her work in theater, working as an actor, director, stage manager, dramaturg, and producer in the Bay Area and Seattle. She now serves as Associate Artistic Director with Akropolis Performance Lab. Annie also works in education, currently coordinating the Extended Day and Summer Programs at Seattle Waldorf School.

Miriam has been working as an elementary special education teacher at a public school in Brooklyn. This fall, she will begin a masters program in communication sciences and disorders at Teachers College to become a speech-language pathologist.

The Wesleyan Storytelling Project is produced by Mia Lobel ’97 and production intern Tess Altman ’17.

">Listen to the clip on SoundCloud…

Image: c/o Annie Paladino and Miriam Krent

Share this link: wesconnect.wesleyan.edu/storytelling-annie-paladino-miriam-krent-09

#THISISWHY

Don’t have a Facebook account, but want to comment? Email us.

Reblogged from: Wesconnect News. (Go to the original post…)

By Keren Alshanetsky ’17

[Dylan Marron ’10] For the past few years Dylan Marron ’10 has been best known for being an actor and playwright, starring in the webseries Whatever this is. and penning the Drama Desk-nominated play, The Human Symphony. This summer, Dylan has received further recognition and buzz for his YouTube Series “Every Single Word,” which contributes to national conversations about the lack of representation of people of color in Hollywood award shows and films in general.

In this project, fully titled “Every Single Word Spoken by a Person of Color,” Marron cuts movies ranging from Into the Woods to Black Swan down only to the dialogue from nonwhite characters. The results are disappointing: most of the videos clock in at under forty seconds even though these are edits from feature-length films. By highlighting the overwhelming whiteness of movies that are meant to cover universal themes like love, pain and the complexities of human relationships, the systemic erasure of people of color becomes palpably clear.

“Every Single Word” has received an overwhelmingly positive reception from NPR, The Guardian and other major media outlets, as well as from public figures like writer Junot Díaz and actress Kerry Washington. The project has proven to have such a powerful reach perhaps because it is at once so bold and simple, and because these videos “speak” for themselves.

Check out “Every Single Word Spoken by a Person of Color in Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”:

 

In between creating these videos and being an ensemble member of the New York Neo-Futurists, Dylan Marron also lends his voice to the popular podcast Welcome to Night Vale, which will be released in hardcover, eBook and digital audio in October 2015.

Watch more…

Image: from the Huffington Post

Share this link: wesconnect.wesleyan.edu/news-20150721-dylan-marron

#THISISWHY

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[Facebook]Like Dylan Marron on Facebook ➞

[Twitter] follow @dylanmarron on Twitter ➞

[LinkedIn] connect with Dylan Marron on LinkedIn ➞

Don’t have a Facebook account, but want to comment? Email us.

Reblogged from: Wesconnect News. (Go to the original post…)

By Keren Alshanetsky ’17

[Dylan Marron ’10] For the past few years Dylan Marron ’10 has been best known for being an actor and playwright, starring in the webseries Whatever this is. and penning the Drama Desk-nominated play, The Human Symphony. This summer, Dylan has received further recognition and buzz for his YouTube Series “Every Single Word,” which contributes to national conversations about the lack of representation of people of color in Hollywood award shows and films in general.

In this project, fully titled “Every Single Word Spoken by a Person of Color,” Marron cuts movies ranging from Into the Woods to Black Swan down only to the dialogue from nonwhite characters. The results are disappointing: most of the videos clock in at under forty seconds even though these are edits from feature-length films. By highlighting the overwhelming whiteness of movies that are meant to cover universal themes like love, pain and the complexities of human relationships, the systemic erasure of people of color becomes palpably clear.

“Every Single Word” has received an overwhelmingly positive reception from NPR, The Guardian and other major media outlets, as well as from public figures like writer Junot Díaz and actress Kerry Washington. The project has proven to have such a powerful reach perhaps because it is at once so bold and simple, and because these videos “speak” for themselves.

Check out “Every Single Word Spoken by a Person of Color in Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”:

In between creating these videos and being an ensemble member of the New York Neo-Futurists, Dylan Marron also lends his voice to the popular podcast Welcome to Night Vale, which will be released in hardcover, eBook and digital audio in October 2015.

Watch more…

Image: from the Huffington Post

Share this link: wesconnect.wesleyan.edu/news-20150721-dylan-marron

#THISISWHY

Related links

[Facebook]Like Dylan Marron on Facebook ➞

[Twitter] follow @dylanmarron on Twitter ➞

[LinkedIn] connect with Dylan Marron on LinkedIn ➞

Don’t have a Facebook account, but want to comment? Email us.

Reblogged from: ENGAGE - Wesleyan University. (Go to the original post…)

Calling all annual reports from Wes-connected non-profits!

calendarHey y’all, it’s annual report time for many non-profits (and programs like our very own Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship). If you are working for or involved with a non-profit that you want to celebrate, please send us a link to your annual report.

Here’s what we have so far:

  • Hatua Likoni (Gabrielle Fondiller ’07, Co-founder and Director)
  • Refuge Point (Sasha Chanoff ’93, Co-founder and Executive Director)
  • Maji Safi Group (Max Perel-Slater ’11, Founder and Tanzania Executive Director)

We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Reblogged from: Wesconnect News. (Go to the original post…)

By David Low ’76

[Stephen Alter ’77]In his latest nonfiction book, Becoming a Mountain (Arcade), Stephen Alter ’77 recounts a series of treks in the high Himalayas following his convalescence after he and his wife are brutally attacked at his home in the hill station of Mussoorie in the foothills of the Himalayas. Alter takes these walks to help him heal mentally and physically and to reconnect to his homeland. He takes the reader to Bandarpunch (the monkey’s tail); Nanda Devi, the second highest mountain in India; and Mount Kailash in Tibet. His book is a remarkable journey through majestic natural landscapes.

The author of 15 volumes of fiction and nonfiction, Alter recently took time from his travels to talk about his book.

WESCONNECT: In Becoming a Mountain you describe how you and your wife were viciously attacked by intruders in your home in Mussoorie. Was it difficult to go back to this experience and write about it? How would you describe how you felt in the aftermath of the attack?

Stephen Alter: Writing about our attack was both difficult and cathartic. On one level I didn’t want to revisit the trauma but on another level retelling the experience helped me overcome the residual anxiety, anger and uncertainty that any act of violence leaves behind. Even while it was happening and I had a knife at my throat, I knew that if I survived, this was a story I had to tell. If nothing else, the writing process proved that I could move beyond the fear and alienation that followed.

WC: You went on a series of mountain treks after your convalescence. What prompted these walks and how did you decide on which places to visit?

SA: Becoming a Mountain begins with an account of our attack but it is, more than anything, the story of a series of treks through the Central Himalayas. Both the physical and psychological process of recovery led me back into the mountains. I was born in the Himalayas, which remain my home. These mountains represent different things for many people but for me they are essentially a wild and beautiful landscape that gives me inspiration, solace and a sense of identity. In search of healing and contentment, I trekked to a number of sacred sites and pilgrimage destinations yet the sanctity I found was most often in those unnamed, out of the way places where nature remains untouched by human contact.

WC: You use the word “darshan” in your chapter about Nanda Devi. Would you elaborate on that word and its significance for nature walkers?

SA: Darshan is a Hindu or Buddhist concept that essentially means being in the presence of a deity, saint or natural phenomenon and gazing upon that object of veneration. Pilgrims take darshan at shrines or sacred sites but for a non-believer like me darshan includes personal encounters with mountains, rivers, forests and wildlife that gives special meaning to those moments and elevates these experiences to a level above religious rituals and dogma. Though I am an atheist, I have always been intrigued by mysticism, spirituality and myths. The simple act of darshan allows me to approach what others see as divine without submitting to the demands of faith.

WC: Mountain encounters can be both sublime and terrifying. Do you think that is part of the appeal for climbers?

SA: I’ve described my encounters with the sublime as a kind of “emotional vertigo” in which a contradictory sense of awe and beauty combines with terror and revulsion. When I stand at the edge of a precipice and look out at a spectacular panorama of snow peaks and glaciers there is an overwhelming feeling of wonder at the magnitude of creation but when I glance down at the cliffs that fall away beneath my boots I am reminded of my own mortality and the destructive forces of nature. This paradox lies at the core of spiritual experience – our human search for both a creator and destroyer.

WC: Your book touches upon Himalayan history, folklore and mythology as well as on stories about past mountain climbers. Did you need to do a lot of research for the book?

SA: This book was written over a period of five years during which I read a number of books and articles about the Himalayas and gathered stories, myths and anecdotes from many sources, including interviews with mountaineers. Becoming a Mountain is a personal narrative but it also includes a lot of mountain lore and historical perspectives on the Himalayas, looking at the mountains through the eyes of others.

WC: What are a few of your favorite moments on these walks?

SA: Circumambulating Mount Kailash in Tibet remains the high point of my journey, though there were many other moments that I recall as equally moving and memorable. Watching bharal, or blue sheep, grazing on the glacial moraine below Bandar Punch was an unforgettable experience, just like seeing the alpenglow illuminate the face of Nanda Devi with a seemingly eternal light.

WC: What are the challenges of a nature writer to keep the reader engaged, especially when writing about a series of treks or spiritual quests that can become hard to pin down?

SA: As a nature writer you always want to convey your observations as accurately and completely as possible while framing these within a larger narrative that will be, hopefully, compelling for a reader. It’s a bit like looking at the world through both ends of a pair of binoculars. First, you need to magnify the details and be precise but then you must take in a wider field of vision that gives a broad perspective.

WC: Who are some of the nature writers you admire?

SA: Among American nature writers, I admire, in no particular order, Henry David Thoreau, Peter Matthiessen, Gretel Ehrlich, Edward Hoagland, George Schaller, and Aldo Leopold whose chapter heading “Think Like a Mountain” helped inspire the title of my book. Among Indian nature writers, Salim Ali, M. Krishnan, Janaki Lenin and Jim Corbett are some of the names that come to mind.

Image: By Mukesh Singh c/o Stephen Alter

Share this link: wesconnect.wesleyan.edu/news-20150720-stephen-alter

#THISISWHY

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[Twitter] follow @stephenalter on Twitter ➞

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Reblogged from: Wesconnect News. (Go to the original post…)

By David Low ’76

[Stephen Alter ’77]In his latest nonfiction book, Becoming a Mountain (Arcade), Stephen Alter ’77 recounts a series of treks in the high Himalayas following his convalescence after he and his wife are brutally attacked at his home in the hill station of Mussoorie in the foothills of the Himalayas. Alter takes these walks to help him heal mentally and physically and to reconnect to his homeland. He takes the reader to Bandarpunch (the monkey’s tail); Nanda Devi, the second highest mountain in India; and Mount Kailash in Tibet. His book is a remarkable journey through majestic natural landscapes.

The author of 15 volumes of fiction and nonfiction, Alter recently took time from his travels to talk about his book.

WESCONNECT: In Becoming a Mountain you describe how you and your wife were viciously attacked by intruders in your home in Mussoorie. Was it difficult to go back to this experience and write about it? How would you describe how you felt in the aftermath of the attack?

Stephen Alter: Writing about our attack was both difficult and cathartic. On one level I didn’t want to revisit the trauma but on another level retelling the experience helped me overcome the residual anxiety, anger and uncertainty that any act of violence leaves behind. Even while it was happening and I had a knife at my throat, I knew that if I survived, this was a story I had to tell. If nothing else, the writing process proved that I could move beyond the fear and alienation that followed.

WC: You went on a series of mountain treks after your convalescence. What prompted these walks and how did you decide on which places to visit?

SA: Becoming a Mountain begins with an account of our attack but it is, more than anything, the story of a series of treks through the Central Himalayas. Both the physical and psychological process of recovery led me back into the mountains. I was born in the Himalayas, which remain my home. These mountains represent different things for many people but for me they are essentially a wild and beautiful landscape that gives me inspiration, solace and a sense of identity. In search of healing and contentment, I trekked to a number of sacred sites and pilgrimage destinations yet the sanctity I found was most often in those unnamed, out of the way places where nature remains untouched by human contact.

WC: You use the word “darshan” in your chapter about Nanda Devi. Would you elaborate on that word and its significance for nature walkers?

SA: Darshan is a Hindu or Buddhist concept that essentially means being in the presence of a deity, saint or natural phenomenon and gazing upon that object of veneration. Pilgrims take darshan at shrines or sacred sites but for a non-believer like me darshan includes personal encounters with mountains, rivers, forests and wildlife that gives special meaning to those moments and elevates these experiences to a level above religious rituals and dogma. Though I am an atheist, I have always been intrigued by mysticism, spirituality and myths. The simple act of darshan allows me to approach what others see as divine without submitting to the demands of faith.

WC: Mountain encounters can be both sublime and terrifying. Do you think that is part of the appeal for climbers?

SA: I’ve described my encounters with the sublime as a kind of “emotional vertigo” in which a contradictory sense of awe and beauty combines with terror and revulsion. When I stand at the edge of a precipice and look out at a spectacular panorama of snow peaks and glaciers there is an overwhelming feeling of wonder at the magnitude of creation but when I glance down at the cliffs that fall away beneath my boots I am reminded of my own mortality and the destructive forces of nature. This paradox lies at the core of spiritual experience – our human search for both a creator and destroyer.

WC: Your book touches upon Himalayan history, folklore and mythology as well as on stories about past mountain climbers. Did you need to do a lot of research for the book?

SA: This book was written over a period of five years during which I read a number of books and articles about the Himalayas and gathered stories, myths and anecdotes from many sources, including interviews with mountaineers. Becoming a Mountain is a personal narrative but it also includes a lot of mountain lore and historical perspectives on the Himalayas, looking at the mountains through the eyes of others.

WC: What are a few of your favorite moments on these walks?

SA: Circumambulating Mount Kailash in Tibet remains the high point of my journey, though there were many other moments that I recall as equally moving and memorable. Watching bharal, or blue sheep, grazing on the glacial moraine below Bandar Punch was an unforgettable experience, just like seeing the alpenglow illuminate the face of Nanda Devi with a seemingly eternal light.

WC: What are the challenges of a nature writer to keep the reader engaged, especially when writing about a series of treks or spiritual quests that can become hard to pin down?

SA: As a nature writer you always want to convey your observations as accurately and completely as possible while framing these within a larger narrative that will be, hopefully, compelling for a reader. It’s a bit like looking at the world through both ends of a pair of binoculars. First, you need to magnify the details and be precise but then you must take in a wider field of vision that gives a broad perspective.

WC: Who are some of the nature writers you admire?

SA: Among American nature writers, I admire, in no particular order, Henry David Thoreau, Peter Matthiessen, Gretel Ehrlich, Edward Hoagland, George Schaller, and Aldo Leopold whose chapter heading “Think Like a Mountain” helped inspire the title of my book. Among Indian nature writers, Salim Ali, M. Krishnan, Janaki Lenin and Jim Corbett are some of the names that come to mind.

Image: By Mukesh Singh c/o Stephen Alter

Share this link: wesconnect.wesleyan.edu/news-20150720-stephen-alter

#THISISWHY

Related links

[Twitter] follow @stephenalter on Twitter ➞

Don’t have a Facebook account, but want to comment? Email us.

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