Writing Abroad

A Guide for Travelers

Peter Chilson and Joanne B. Mulcahy

“Tell me all about your trip!” It’s a request that follows travelers as they head out into the world, and one of the first things they hear when they return. When we leave our homes to explore the wider world, we feel compelled to capture the experiences and bring the story home. But for those who don’t think of themselves as writers, putting experiences into words can be more stressful than inspirational. Writing Abroad is meant for travelers of all backgrounds and writing levels: a student embarking on overseas study; a retiree realizing a dream of seeing China; a Peace Corps worker in Kenya. All can benefit from documenting their adventures, whether on paper or online. Through practical advice and adaptable exercises, this guide will help travelers hone their observational skills, conduct research and interviews, choose an appropriate literary form, and incorporate photos and videos into their writing. Writing about travel is more than just safeguarding memories—it can transform experiences and tease out new realizations. With Writing Abroad, travelers will be able to deepen their understanding of other cultures and write about that new awareness in clear and vivid prose.
The University of Chicago Press | 224 pages

Remedios

The Healing Life of Eva Castellanoz

Joanne B. Mulcahy

Former President Ronald Reagan called Eva Castellanoz a “national treasure” when he awarded her an NEA National Heritage Fellowship in 1987. Featured in National Geographic, National Public Radio, and numerous other publications, Castellanoz is celebrated as a folk artist, community activist and a curandera, a traditional Mexican healer who uses a mind-body-spirit approach. During her 16 year friendship with Joanne Mulcahy, Castellanoz has revealed her life story as well as her remedios — her remedies, both medicinal and metaphoric — for life’s maladies. Using her own observations and Castellanoz’s stories, Mulcahy employs creative nonfiction and oral accounts to portray the life, beliefs, and practices of this remarkable woman. Anyone who has been healed by Eva Castellanoz has felt her power and wisdom. Anyone who reads this vivid portrait will come away feeling wiser and empowered by the story of this courageous and loving healer.

Of Remedios, Julia Alvarez wrote: “Mulcahy has done for the curandera what Carlos Castanada did for shamanism. This book is itself a remedio, inspiring and healing.”

Trinity University Press | 224 pages

Birth and Rebirth on an Alaskan Island

The Life of an Alutiiq Healer

Joanne B. Mulcahy

 

When Joanne B. Mulcahy first helped Mary Peterson―a respected elder of the Akhiok community―find a safe home away from the violence and alcoholism that had altered village life, she never imagined that they would meet again five years later and begin more than twelve years of interviews, letters, and visits that would transform the lives of both women.Birth and Rebirth on an Alaskan Island offers the fascinating story of Mary’s life, from her experience growing up within the traditional society of Akhiok to her work as a teacher, a Community Health Aide, a mother, a grandmother, and an Alutiiq midwife and healer. Through her story we discover a society that blended native Alutiiq culture with the Russian Orthodox teachings handed down from late-eighteenth- and nineteenth-century colonists; that mixed modern education and employment with a subsistence lifestyle; that sanctioned arranged marriages but upheld civil divorce laws; and, above all, that recovered its confidence in traditional healing―both of the body and of the community.

More than a personal story of survival, Birth and Rebirth on an Alaskan Island portrays, in Akhiok, a resilience formed through a return to a strong sense of community. As we become acquainted with the Kodiak world through Mary Peterson’s story, we come to realize the strength of the native oral tradition and to see that knowing and healing are pivotal elements of the Alutiiq way―particularly as they bring to light the previously unrecognized efforts, inspirations, and accomplishments of countless women healers.

Of Birth and Rebirth on an Alaskan Island, writer Richard Nelson commented:

“Joanne Mulcahy’s writing is exceptional, and her scholarship meets the highest standards for ethnographic studies. Truly outstanding, she stands on the firm foundation established by Margaret Mead, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, and Colin Turnbull.”

University of Georgia Press | 208 pages