Friday, June 29, 2007


The journal Pilgrimage just accepted my essay "The Bells of San Borja," which juxtaposes a trip I took down to the San Borja Mission in central Baja with the Bens Bells project here in Tucson. In many ways it's about crossing borders, about im- and emigration, something that finds a significant place in much of my recent nonfiction, as well of course as in the local, national, and global news.

To that end, I suggest you visit J.D. Stein's blog and read this. It's very sad when we live in a society that prizes, for lack of a better word, fear over compassion.

I'm trying, too, to find a home for my "Borderland Dreams: Tracking El Tigre in Southern Arizona and Beyond" essay, about Mexican biologist Sergio Avila and his work, with organizations like the Sky Island Alliance, to preserve viable corridors for jaguar (and other wildlife) migration between the U.S. and Mexico. The Georgia Review provided a very friendly, personalized response, but decided to pass. I've got some other venues in mind, and could also turn it more into an article and less a personal essay, but we'll see.

I also have a short piece on Civano in the current issue of Planning, the magazine of the American Planning Association. It's kind of a funny story on how it got in there. After querying and receiving a positive response about a 2,500-word personal essay on Civano, I sent it in. A day before our road trip to D.C., I got a call from the magazine's editorial assistant saying they're going to publish the piece in the July issue, which has a master-planned community theme. But, she says, they had to cut it down a bit. Oh yeah, how much? It's now 390 words, and is a sidebar.

She sent it to me for my review, and they literally had taken parts of the overall essay and assembled the sidebar. It read like a disheveled rant, so I pleaded to have the evening to rewrite it, which I did. The rewrite is much better, and that's what they went with. And at fifty cents a word, even a 390-word sidebar isn't so bad. Hopefully, though, they got my name right in the printing, because both the contract and check call me Simon, a common mistake except, of course, when I sent everything in with my name correctly spelled to begin with!

Immigration, sustainable community, compassion, raising daughters, desert evenings, and monsoons. Some of the things I'm mulling over. What are you thinking and writing about?


Suzanne said...

Congratulations! You're all over the place.

I'm thinking of ways to entertain my 4 y.o. while he out's out of camp this week. He's so sophisticated he's no longer interested in blowing bubbles, water tables, sidewalk chalk -- at least not today.

jd said...

Thanks for the plug Simmmons. Congratulations on the essays being published. Is that your first paid article?

Simmons B. Buntin said...

Thanks Suzanne and JD. No, it's not my first paid article. I've had a few here and there in the past, like with Aquarium Fish Magazine....

shann said...

I'm thinking about my daughter moving out in the next week- it's great but I know I am going to miss her terribly.

Fortunately, she's only three miles away and will still need many things from us.

That and hoping the son gets employed soon. Sigh.

Simmons B. Buntin said...

These kids just keep growing up, no matter what we do, eh?