January 2019

Jeff with his book The Snow Clown
(Jeff Raz with his latest book, ‘The Snow Clown’)

 

Dear Friends and Family,

2019 has started fast for me and ‘The Snow Clown‘, with lots of book events and interviews (see below). In my spare time, I have, like you, been reading, listening to and watching stories about everything from the wonderfully diverse class of new U.S. Representatives to the government shutdown to the four beautiful circus/theater shows I attended in December.

Stories are a hot topic in 2019, and not just whether they are true or fake. As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie says in her TED Talk The Danger of a Single Story, “...how stories are told, who tells them, when are they told, how many stories are told, are really dependent on power.”

Here’s a link to Ms. Adichie’s TED talk.


Excerpt from ‘The Snow Clown’

The Snow Clown‘ is full of stories, of course; it is also about the power of stories across cultures. Near the end of the book, a group of high school students in the Yup’ik village of St. Michael take the power of storytelling away from their teacher, who has been rehearsing the student show using Shakespeare’s “Seven Ages of Man” speech as the overall structure.

Note: Charlene, who you will meet in a moment, had been sent to stay with her aunt three weeks earlier after accusing a powerful and well-liked men of abusing her.

It’s the last period of the day and the high school seniors have a couple of surprises for me. First, Charlene is back from Anchorage. She’s a tall, shy girl with newly permed shoulder-length black hair and hard eyes. The other kids treat her carefully, as if she might crumble or lash out at any moment.

Read the rest of this excerpt.