In case you didn’t know, before there was The Nasiona Podcast there was The Nasiona Magazine. On August 29th, we celebrated the magazine’s 2-year anniversary. We continued the celebration this week with our previous episode highlighting one of our authors, Carl Boon, and his imaginative biography poetry collection, PLACES & NAMES, published by The Nasiona Publishing House. We continue this celebration on today’s podcast by showcasing the work of two essayists — Stephen D. Gutierrez and Morelle Smith.
I selected these pieces to share with you today for two reasons. First, because our editorial team originally nominated them, along with four other authors, for the Pushcart Prize back in 2018, during our first few months as a magazine. Second, because of the kind of inner world exploration many of us have been experiencing during the pandemic lockdowns, while simultaneously craving for a time when we can travel freely once again. Today’s episode takes you into two kinds of journeys: the inner world of the Self, and the external world of traveling through a foreign land.
Act 1: “I Saw It All,” by Stephen D. Gutierrez. Read by the author.
“Beware of the spiritual journey. You may end up in a place that’s not so comforting. I discovered this hard truth at a meditation retreat in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Vipassana Meditation, the time-honored method attributed to the Buddha, gave me vision, startling vision, and terror. It unanchored me,” Stephen D. Gutierrez.
Act 2: “Passages,” by Morelle Smith. Read by Jo Weston.
“Each time I go back to Tirana, I see big changes, but I seek out the old parts of town, the narrow streets, talk to people who live there and people who are visiting, and describe the unchanging and magnificent landscape. ‘Passages’ describes several visits made to Albania (after my first stay there, which I wrote about in my travel memoir Tirana Papers),” Morelle Smith.
STEPHEN D. GUTIERREZ is the author of three books, most recently The Mexican Man in His Backyard, and an American Book Award winner. His nonfiction has appeared in Fourth Genre, River Teeth, ZYZZYVA, and other magazines. An essay in Waccamaw 16 received a Notable Essay citation in Best American Essays.
MORELLE SMITH’s writing reflects travel, particularly in European countries, where she has lived, worked, studied, or held writers’ residencies. Her awards include Audience Award for her poetry, (Ukraine, 2014) and Autumn Voices prize for her prose (UK, 2017). Her most recent book is The Midnight Man (novella, 2018)
Julián Esteban Torres López (he/him) is a bilingual, Colombia-born journalist, publisher, podcaster, author, researcher, educator, editor, and culture worker with Afro-Euro-Indigenous roots. Before founding the social justice storytelling organization The Nasiona, he ran several cultural and arts organizations, edited journals and books, was a social justice and public history researcher, wrote a column for Colombia Reports, taught university courses, and managed a history museum. He’s a Pushcart Prize and Best Small Fictions nominee and has written two books on social justice. Torres López holds a bachelor’s in philosophy and in communication and a master’s in justice studies from University of New Hampshire and was a Ph.D. candidate at University of British Columbia Okanagan, where he focused on political science and Latin American studies.
Special thanks to Jo Weston for bringing Morelle Smith’s essay “Passages” to life.
JO WESTON is a writer and poet based in Nottingham, England. She has an MA in Creative Writing with distinction and has been a Writer-in-Residence for the Maggie’s Centre. Shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and longlisted in Mslexia’s Poetry Competition, her work has been published in anthologies and magazines, and broadcast on BBC radio.
The Nasiona Podcast amplifies the voices and experiences of the marginalized, undervalued, overlooked, silenced, and forgotten, as well as gives you a glimpse into Othered worlds. We focus on stories that explore the spectrum of human experiences—stories based on facts, truth-seeking, human concerns, real events, and real people, with a personal touch. From liminal lives to the marginalized, and everything in between, we believe that the subjective can offer its own reality and reveal truths some facts can’t discover. Hosted, edited, and produced by Julián Esteban Torres López.
Original music for The Nasiona Podcast was produced by the Grammy Award-winning team of Joe Sparkman and Marcus Allen, aka The Heavyweights.
Joe Sparkman: Twitter + Instagram. Marcus Allen: Twitter + Instagram.
The Nasiona Magazine and Podcast depend on voluntary contributions from readers and listeners like you. We hope the value of our work to our community is worth your patronage. If you like what we do, please show this by liking, rating, and reviewing us; buying or recommending our books; and by financially supporting our work either through The Nasiona’s Patreon page or through Julián Esteban Torres López‘s Ko-fi donation platform. Every little bit helps.
Thank you for listening and reading, and thank you for your support.