Today is the much-anticipated birthday of Birds of a Lesser Paradise, the debut collection of 12 stories by my Bennington MFA classmate Megan Mayhew Bergman. It's so exciting to see an outpouring of praise and love and support for a deserving friend's great book. From Publisher's Weekly starred review: "Reflections on the natural world, animals both domestic and wild, family, and death figure prominently as motifs. In the title story, a young woman who lives with her father in backwoods North Carolina confronts her loneliness and her father’s mortality when an attractive stranger engages them to help find a woodpecker believed to be extinct..." Check out her book: look for the pretty green cover and the owl.
Last summer, during my last residency at the Bennington Writing Seminars in Vermont, Megan invited us to her beautiful nearby farm, where her husband has a veterinary practice. She's a wonderful cook and makes a killer sangria. We strolled around the property, ducked under low tree branches, shuffled through barns to check out newly born chicks, pointed at horses, stroked goats' noses, listen to chickens, chased a toddler, and admired a newborn.