This story went through two phases of workshop with Jonathan Ames and Elizabeth McCracken. Thanks so much to my peers for saving it from barreling in a much more ridiculous direction (a dream about the love of a woman for a lion). Instead, the story is about African Traditional Churches, lion conservatories, Tanzania, and the tension between science and religion. Everything in this story is fictional but loosely based on research.
Generally, I am fascinated by how we experience the spiritual in the secular world – whether through music, art, dance…William James wrote a lot about faith being a matter of “shared belief”; faith is how we experience a thing greater than ourselves, together in a group. I want to explore how we agree to believe in an idea, place, or state, with other people, in order to feel less alone.
This story was a runner-up in the journal’s 2010 Fiction contest, judged by Donald Hays, who wrote some very nice things about it. I am very grateful to be featured on their site and to have been chosen as a finalist.