In Search Of…

A Collection of Creative Nonfiction

Edited by Haifa Mahabir

Subjects: Literature
Imprint: Distribution Partners
Paperback : 9781930337572, 125 pages, April 2011

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Table of contents

1. Notes from the Road
Dennis Doherty
Imagine not just the scariness, but the magic of it, in the context of human history: that in the twentieth century a person can be deposited on a pinprick of dirt in the middle of a wilderness, and within three minutes—in the time it takes a kid to pee and zip up—lose all contact with the transport and company that brought him there, alone, afoot, as if sprung out of the ground.
2. Gossip on the Northbound Snow
Naomi Lore
I knocked a half-bottle of wine off the nightstand when my alarm struck.   Something in my shoulder was twisting beneath the bone, and the Icy-Hot was gone.   It wasn’t in my luggage or on the mini sink, so I checked the safe because sometimes our drunken bodies create games to play later when we’re sober
3. Searching for Binh Hoa
Rolf Potts
I was in Danang, Vietnam, with a day to kill before heading overland to Laos, so I decided to try to find Binh Hoa. The problem with this plan was that nobody in Danang seemed to know what Binh Hoa was.
4. Smokestack Songs
Samuel Robinson
The village stood like a solitary tree hovering above a trail leading to someplace promising.   A rusty streak upon an iron horizon, it signaled the end of along day’s work for smelters releasing precious metals from ore at a plant a few hundred yards away.   When the trail of grey exhaust released from the smokestacks reached the village, the workers knew they were free to return home.
5. Pity and Betrayal in Tikrit
Kevin Sites
It is nearly 2am and there are six men, bound and blindfolded on their knees forming a crescent around an armor-plated Humvee.   It is their hands that fascinate me the most—perhaps because I can still see them, little white anemones wriggling in the darkness.
6. In the House of War
Haifa Mahabir
The lamb curry is mutton, shanks taken from the shoulder.   They cook it slowly to simmer in its own juices—the hot flame to melt the fat and tenderize the matured meat.   I rip at the chapatti, steam rising from the fresh bake.   “You have to use your hands” I tell him. I raise my eyes, smile. “Don’t be polite. ”
7. Woman in the Keffiyah
Jeffrey Tayler
Thunder rumbled from purple-gray autumnal clouds gathering over the village of Harran, where I was headed.   Ethnically Arab, Harran lies tucked away in southernmost Turkey, just a few miles from the Syrian border.
8. Dancing in the Sand
Sara Hamdan
My mother gave me the usual precautions as I left: don’t forget your keys, don’t come home late, and watch out for boys because they only want sex. “And don’t tell people about this…dance…thing,” she said, lowering her voice for the last two words. “They won’t understand. ”
9. Tallinn
Todd Zuniga
Sushi across the street from the hotel, the waitress so unique, no way she’s human.   I stare when I can, convinced she’s emerged from the sea, see she’s liqued, skin so pale it’s blue.   Black, black hair, razor blade nose, skylight eyes.   When she speaks, alien Estonian melts from her mouth.
10. Hudson Valley Homestead
Laurence Carr
Conveys: All that piece of land lying in the town of Plattekill aforesaid being part of Durham Patent and begins at the chestnut tree marked in the southeast corner of the land now owned by Charles Young and runs thence South 73 degrees East 5 chains 25 links to a stake and heap of stones…
11. Adobo
Rita Flores Bogaert
Adobo.   In a large pot, bring to boil a medium chicken in soy, water, and vinegar.   Add black pepper, mashed garlic.   Turn the heat down.   Simmer for an hour.   Daughter, you do not understand why I save scraps of meat.   Answers are rooted in my past.   Maybe I should tell you about that life.   Memories knock in low tones in my daily living.
12. Hieroglyphs of Father-Daughter Time
Jan Zlotnik Schmidt
The hat was probably wool, scratchy, rough to the touch, a stitch lost here or there.   Perhaps it was red, pink, or faded green.   Perhaps he pulled it down over his ears, pulled it tight on his forehead.   He was a skinny boy with knobby knees, standing on a subway platform, shuffling back and forth to keep warm, waiting for the train.
13. Us Bottle Rocket Kids
Benjamin Orcutt
They were packed shoulder to shoulder inside the living room, writhing like worms in a can of dirt.   They moved with and against each other, touching, pushing, holding, colliding—careless movements through the slush and mud which lingered in stinking puddles of beer and liquor upon the floor.
14. Welcome Home
Pauline Uchmanowicz
It was the summer of “Reagan cheese,” shorthand for “government commodities” as sputtered by recipients across America.   I kept track of such matters during those months of 1985, traveling in my gas-leaking, fourteen-year-old Dodge beside photographer Ken Miller, who wanted to document disenfranchised populations—homeless, migrants, working poor—between Northern California and Vancouver and British Columbia.
Contributors’ Notes

Stories traversing oceans and continents in the common search for identity and place.


In Search Of… offers a wide-angle lens into the craft of creative nonfiction in a unique collection by fourteen professional, academic, and student writers, whose stories traverse oceans and continents in the common search for identity and place.

Haifa Mahabir is a graduate of the Creative Writing Program at the State University of New York, College at New Paltz. She has also studied in Paris at the Creative Writing Workshop of the Paris American Academy, and has twice received recognition as the Year's Best Young Writer in both 2008 and 2009 from Travelers' Tales/Solas House.