[Editor’s Note:] Last year I published my book Culture Clash: Environmental Politics in New Mexico Forest Communities, the story of environmental justice battles waged by land grant communities against both the Forest Service and environmentalists in the 1980s and 1990s. It was reviewed in La Jicarita by Bill Whaley, editor of Taos Friction, and Malcolm Ebright, land grant historian. I also published a book of fiction in 2016, called Stories From Life’s Other Side, which I haven’t promoted on La Jicarita. But my friend Lucy Lippard, Galisteo resident, art critic, and prolific author sent me this blurb, which makes the connection between my political writing and my fiction. I’ve also included a brief description of the book from the publisher (Sunstone Press). It’s available at local bookstores in Taos and Santa Fe, from the publisher, and on Amazon.
“Having admired Kay Matthews as a passionate and articulate journalist for years, I was surprised by Stories from Life’s Other Side. She turns out to be an accomplished writer of fiction too, especially gifted in snappy, down-to-earth dialogue. Informed by her decades of political work in Northern New Mexico, the book is filled with local insights, wholly believable characters (both Anglo and Hispano), and a narrator’s wry (and familiar) voice. As an unflinching view into Norteno villages, acequia commissions, families, friends, relationships, lefty and post-hippie lives, it is tough, touching, and unmatched.”
—Lucy R. Lippard, author of Undermining: A Wild Ride Through Land Use, Politics, and Art in the Changing West.
Hank Williams’ song “A Picture From Life’s Other Side” talks about
the “gallery of pictures” that stands opposite those of “love and of
passion…and of youth and of beauty”: the gambler who’s lost all his
money; the old mother home alone, waiting; the heartbroken mother and child.
This book extends that gallery to include the stories of those who live largely on
the margins of modern day society, be it physically, culturally, or economically.
Some of them choose to live there, others live there by default. While they
experience the same range of desires and emotions as everyone else in this world,
maybe theirs are a little closer to the bone. There’s some mourning of what’s
been lost, some soul searching about what to want, but a lot of acceptance of
what there is. Kay Matthews is the chronicler, maybe a little bit of an interpreter,
but definitely not the judge.