Let the Tornado Come
Rita Zoey Chin ..........................................
Jon Patch is joined by Rita Zoey Chin, author of Let the Tornado Come: A Memoir. From an award-winning poet comes this riveting, gorgeous memoir about a young runaway, the trauma that haunted her as an adult, and the friendship with a horse that finally set her free.
When she was eleven years old, Rita began to run away. Her father’s violence and her mother’s hostility drove her out of the house and into the streets in search of a better life. This soon led her into a dangerous world of drugs, predatory older men, and the occasional kindness of strangers, but despite the dangers, Rita kept running. One day she came upon a field of horses galloping along a roadside fence, and the sight of them gave her hope. The memory of their hoofbeats stayed with her.
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Rita Zoey Chin was born into a world that roared: a Queens apartment near Kennedy Airport, where planes were a constant storm that rattled the walls and the knickknacks on tables and the nerves of those nearby. But a move to Maryland four years later changed everything—there were meadows and creeks and so much sky—and it was there that Rita saw horses for the first time, and discovered the most primal source of her wonder embodied in their movement across the field.
She now lives in a bucolic town in Massachusetts with her three dogs, surrounded by an orchestra of wild animals—hawks, owls, squirrels, frogs, and a herd of cows lowing on a nearby farm. When she’s not roaming the fields and woods with her dogs, Rita can often be found riding—or, more often, inserting treats into the mouth of—her mischievous horse, Claret. She also enjoys mentoring troubled teenage girls, and Claret likes to help with this, to the delight of those who love to feed him carrots and jellybeans.
Rita holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland, where she won a Katherine Anne Porter Prize and an Academy of American Poetry Award. She taught creative writing at Towson University and now teaches memoir classes at Grub Street. Rita’s work has appeared in Marie Claire, Tin House, Guernica, The Rumpus, Freerange Nonfiction, birdsong, New York Arts Magazine, and elsewhere. She is the author of Let The Tornado Come: A Memoir (Simon & Schuster).