• Fire Ants

    BEST AMERICAN TRAVEL WRITING “NOTABLE”/PUBLISHED ON VELA MAGAZINE:  In those first months living in El Salvador, had I walked down a village street and seen young men leaning against gaping doorframes, their eyes steady upon me, I would have read the wrong story. Then, I could barely speak, let alone interpret …

  • Winner of The Pinch Literary Prize in Nonfiction

    PUBLISHED BY THE PINCH: Judge Abigail Thomas selected “Lifecycle of Butterflies” for the 2013 Literary Prize in Nonfiction. About the essay, Thomas writes: “Beer compares the lifecycle of the Monarch butterfly and its fantastic migrations with her own life of seemingly random wanderings. This is a fascinating, beautifully written and ultimately very …

  • Bridge on the Border

    PUBLISHED IN BEST WOMEN’S TRAVEL WRITING, VOL. 8. On Christmas Eve day, I stood with my father on the bridge over the Rio Paz. It was no–man’s land—a gap between two nations—but children swam in the glittering brown river and birds flitted back and forth, from El Salvador, to Guatemala, and …

Homage to Nepal

PUBLISHED BY VELA MAGAZINE. This is a compilation of work by women writers (and one artist) connected to Nepal that I assembled for Vela Magazine. It is a collective response to the earthquake that seeks to tell a different story than the body counts and the images of rubble can do, to remember and recount, …

On Nativity

PUBLISHED IN FOURTH GENRE. According to the Gospel of Luke, Jesus was born while his parents were traveling to Bethlehem to register, as required by law, with the census. Fast forward two thousand and ten Decembers—giving or taking a few for the ecclesiastical debate and/or shoddy recordkeeping around the dawn …

Review: On Immunity

PUBLISHED ON THE RUMPUS. One day I picked my toddler up from his Montessori school and, along with the usual bags of laundry and lunch detritus, I was handed a slip of paper informing me that during his day at school my son had been vaccinated for polio. I sucked …

Review: The Four Words for Home

PUBLISHED ON THE RUMPUS. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Chinese-American journalist Angie Chuang was charged by her editor with putting “a …

The Lifecycle of Butterflies

RE-PUBLISHED ON VELA MAGAZINE. This essay was a finalist for the 2013 Annie Dillard Prize and won that year’s essay prize from The …

Wanting

PUBLISHED IN DEFUNCT MAGAZINE AND ANTHOLOGIZED IN DIMESTORIES’ TENTH ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION OF 3-MINUTE STORIES. The boy in purple moon boots thumps up to …

Fire Ants

BEST AMERICAN TRAVEL WRITING “NOTABLE”/PUBLISHED ON VELA MAGAZINE:  In those first months living in El Salvador, had I walked down a village street …