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The Moment Before, photograph by Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka

Election 2024: Discerning Truth in an Age of Disinformation

Introduction

 

“Democracy is not a spectator sport,” attorney and children’s rights advocate Marian Wright Edelman (b. 1939) has said. In fact, democracy requires involvement — by well-informed voters. But how can we acquire reliable, verifiable information in this increasingly chaotic world of myriad social media outlets, generative Artificial Intelligence, propagandistic politics, and organized computer hackers devoted to spreading rumor, misinformation, and disinformation?

How do we engage in the discourse that is always essential to democracy — perhaps no more so than in presidential election years — in the midst of bitter contentiousness, intolerance of conflicting views, and looming threats to long-fought-for rights, including a woman’s right to determine the trajectory of her own life?

In the comments below, our readers express views and recommendations born of their years of experience. We invite other readers to join in the discussion of this vital issue by using the Comment section you will find at the end of the Forum.

Margaret Wagner
Editor-in-Chief

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Editor and Persimmon Community members,
 
I’ll preface my comments with the fact that I am a committed progressive politically, and I am a professional journalist.  Consequently, truth of any stripe is important to me. As for fighting disinformation, it takes diligence and media literacy. That means checking sources, following them down whatever lengthy and convoluted path required to find out WHO is saying WHAT and WHY. For those of us who may have more time and wherewithal to do the research, it is our sacred duty to share our findings.
 
Thanks for asking,
 
Susan McCabe
Vashon Island, Washington

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had a snarky saying in high school: “Consider the source and ignore the remark.” In this age of disinformation, we do what sensible, grown-up women do: distinguish reliable sources of information from the purveyors of drama, innuendo, and outright lies.
 
Nowadays, we have to perform triage on all the things that demand our attention and insist we add our voices to the doom-laden chorus of the moment. Here’s my personal modus operandi for dealing with the firehose of information:
 

  • Is it from a source I trust? What might be the source’s agenda?
  • Remember that plausible doesn’t mean true.
  • Determine if it’s important to me or at least “of interest.”
  • If it is, see if there’s something I want to do about it.
  • If yes, go do it.  If no, set it aside.

 
As far as dealing with people whom I love and who have been captured by what looks to me like misinformation, my m.o. is also simple (but not easy): Listen, ask questions (e.g., “How do you know?”), and, if they listen back, admit, “I have a different take,” or “That’s not what I see.”
 
We get to say what conversations empower us. We can avoid the others.
 
Nancy Chek
Wheaton, Maryland

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently when I heard a political pundit say we needed more slanted coverage of one of the political candidates, I was disheartened. Isn’t there enough slanted coverage already? Turn to one left-leaning news program and they are beating the drum for their candidate and against the contender. Turn to a right-leaning news program and you get the same song with the candidates in reverse. What are we to do?
 
My answer is twofold. First, we must listen to or read a variety of news outlets. We must not just listen to those who reinforce our particular prejudices. We must listen to opposing voices to hear both sides of a particular issue. We must keep our minds open, knowing that neither side of the political divide has all of the truth or answers.
 
Second, we must be willing to take a deep dive into any subject or candidate we are not sure of. That involves listening to varying views, reading diverse information on a subject, and checking out the facts given to us. It takes time to do a deep dive but if we want to be discerning, educated, and informed we must make the effort.
 
Valerie Cullers
Meridian, Idaho

 

 

 

 

 

 

A wise older friend maintained that when faced with a crisis we must first admit our fundamental helplessness. Again and again within the current national nightmare, we feel the absence of community. Of in-person face to face. Of the wise whomever to convince us, support us.
 
I seek the topic on a smaller scale: I scan (notice the word choice is, automatically, not read, though I did read) a local listserv conversation about our school district’s defeated budget and the next vote on a contingency budget and a proposal to purchase electric busses. So much anger and impatience, accusations of misinformation, in the online discussion among likeminded people! I observe systemic helplessness: my own social conditioning that subliminally evaluates how closely I’ll read each comment depending on the writer’s neighborhood, gender, reputation; externally, the randomness of verified versus unverified information within the messages. An eco-poet, my heart is moved by “No matter what they tell us, the electric buses DO NOT WORK in our environment. (Yet!) Until the technology has been improved…” but there is no link to evidence. My finding that would take more of my time. Time is scarce, time is money. Discernment and communication require a slowdown!
 
Mary Gilliland
Ithaca, New York

 

 

 


Possibilities, photograph by Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka

 

 

 

It is not difficult for me to understand why some people do not want to watch or listen to a different news station, either MSNBC or FOX news. Yet I must say that I am very disappointed that many who call themselves “liberal thinkers” are not open to listening to what many of our fellow citizens hear and see every day. If we liberals are so closed-minded that we are not willing to expose ourselves to the lies and misinformation that is proliferating, how can we expect those who are believing the lies and misinformation to listen to “our side”?
 
Most disturbing are not the entertainment newscasters, but our supposed educated congressional leaders. I’ve heard that liberals want to allow abortions at nine months, the 2020 election was stolen, Donald Trump will end the Ukraine war because he is a friend of Vladimir Putin, and he will also end the looming certainty of World War III. I believe the only hope of persuading our neighbors is to listen to their side and counter their erroneous beliefs with logical information and truth.
 
Gayle Ann Weinstein
Wilmette, Illinois

 

 

 

 

 

 

As November approaches, my hopeful, prayerful energy reaches out to the hundreds of students I taught over the years. To them I recite a mantra: please remember, please remember, please remember…
 
Before retirement, I was an academic librarian in the California State University System. In the mid-1990s we began to teach a course in Information Literacy. It was a required class, on every CSU campus, for all incoming freshmen. Our inspiration came from the increasingly overwhelming presence of Google, utilized almost exclusively, and indiscriminately, by students writing research papers. We knew we needed to guide them in the direction of critical thinking in the use of information sources; to help them learn to analyze websites, news sources, social media. We taught students to ask, “Who wrote this? Why did they put it out there? Why should I believe them? What are their credentials?” Our students learned to compare what they read online with information found in scholarly articles, books, and respected news sources—and how to assess the validity of these sources as well.
 
Now, as our world slides further into the morasses of misinformation and disinformation, the discernment skills we librarians taught are increasingly critical. Please, kids…remember!
 
Judy Clarence
Penn Valley, California

 

 

 

 

 

 

News is now sliced up and served to us individually, ending what remained of a common national civic language. Political discourse has devolved into symbolic arguments over “patriotism” and “values” while actual crises are ignored.
 
Take climate change. In 1939, Time Magazine reported on scientific warnings that the planet was warming. In 1947, The New York Times warned arctic warming could raise sea levels. In 1956, The Times reported that “man-made increases in carbon dioxide” were causing the warming. The warnings were buried by decades of disinformation and denial at a time when action could have made a difference.
 
Each of us is now tasked with trying to detect the motives behind what we hear, read, and view.  And with the advent of AI that is even trickier. With each news item, ask yourself, “who benefits?”  Support your local newsroom, if you still have one. When talking to friends who disagree, listen with curiosity instead of judgment.
 
As women of a certain age, we’ve been around long enough to know the history and context within which these elections are happening. Follow your intuition. If it feels like a lie, it probably is.
 
Celia Schorr
Clinton, Washington

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the search for truth, should we not listen to our intuition when we see or hear something? What does it tell us? Often, our first thoughts are worth holding onto. If we then question what we hear and look into the subject in more depth we may develop another view. This can help us make an informed decision on what holds the ring of truth. Is this not the responsible approach in an era of disinformation?
 
In speaking with others about something we believe is right and true, should we not take care how we communicate, and is this approach underestimated? Because the tone of our voice and the words we use communicate something fundamental. If we are gracious in all our communications, speaking quietly with concern for others, this can have more impact. It is the quiet word that is heard. Everyone is an individual with their own opinion, which must be respected whether we agree or not, and if others do not share our views, our words may well be retained and even respected amidst the oft-times noise of debate and the ego of “being right.”
 
Julia Griffin
Laxfield, Suffolk
United Kingdom

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Un)Civil Conversation
 
For thirty years, as a law professor, I trained people to argue professionally, constructively, ethically, respectfully. When I find myself in messy conversations—non-factual and uncivil—these days, I draw on my law professor experience.
 
I remember—and indeed sometimes say aloud—that we are all people “of reasonable minds and good faith.” Sometimes, I would call out these two legal concepts to cool down my riled-up law students. I see our different perspectives as expressions of our life stories, not our characters.
 
I listen carefully for the core values underlying American law. Everyone along our political spectrum cares about fairness and avoiding harm. Conservatives also care about the values of loyalty, respect, and sanctity. (See, e.g., the research of Jonathan Haidt.)
 
When I feel I must counter non-credible information, rather than argue, I question and listen. I don’t ask why the speaker believes the information; few people receive and answer this question well. Rather I ask questions that frame the principles of information literacy: where the speaker found the information, who created the source, how many sources agree with the original source, when the source was created, how I can find the source.
 
Deborah Schmedemann
Mendota Heights, Minnesota

 

 

 


The imperative, photograph by Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka

 

 

 

[I’m] grateful to have no deluded relatives or friends with whom I have to be diplomatic. [I’m] not confident democracy can survive this onslaught of lies and theft; not confident that the outdated, cumbersome machinery of elections to national and state office in the Disunited States can survive corporate control of mass media and campaign financing. Terrified to have no close relatives or friends who will help or protect me when the neo-fascists come for the usual victims (elderly, Jewish, female, outspoken, poet/writer, intellectual). [unprintable comments here, in all the languages I speak and a few more in which I can manage to get around]
 
Jacqueline Lapidus
Brighton, Massachusetts

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think the best way is to ask a question. Ask a loved one who insists on believing something untrue where they found the evidence for one thing [keep it focused on only one misperception] because you would like to review the evidence yourself. Tell them you have come to another conclusion and offer the evidence that you have. And let it be without expectation. Do not insist they arrive at the same conclusion. Let them mull it over. Always approach from a position of positive regard and affection if that is in fact the underlying emotion that formed your bond.  If they refuse to even consider reviewing your evidence then you know there is something else going on. They NEED to believe something is true even if it isn’t. This situation is akin to cult thinking and the mind is closed. Often there is an underlying fear of something – they will lose something, or feel out of control of their lives and the belief is making them feel safe and secure. It’s best to let it be for the time being. Offer bits of evidence over time and let the seeds grow.
 
In the end, it is only love that will heal a rift or ease a troubled mind.
 
Martha Ellen
Astoria, Oregon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advice
 
I have served as a volunteer and paid advocate on many issues.
I am also a fierce feminist.
Here’s what I know:
 
You have to be willing to work at countering disinformation; it goes
beyond a conversation.
It is essential to be diplomatic, as in, “I may be wrong, but…”.
 
Know your way around online sites to research questionable claims.
As in journalism, verify information through independent sources.
As in scientific fields, investigate through peer-reviewed channels to back up your assertions.
If you need a place to start, look up a reputable professional organization or government agency affiliated with the issue. They often post “Myths about….” pages with useful links.
Track the history of the issue through an independent source rather than relying on claims of a candidate.
Ask advice from a trusted colleague who is a professional in the field related to the issue.
 
Propaganda techniques and clever, misleading slogans are nothing new in the world of American politics. Trial attorneys often cite an old saying:
 

“If the law is against you, talk about the evidence. If the evidence is against you, talk about the law. If the law and the evidence are both against you, then pound on the table and yell like hell.”

 
Marianne Goldsmith
Oakland, California

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this age of disinformation what we are facing isn’t new. Politics has always been corrupted. Neither side has benefited the people proportionately. Lies have always been told. Today the powers are not hiding what they are or are not doing, and we fool ourselves if we believe that this duplicity has not always been part of the governmental system.
 
“A contest that will be crucial in deciding the fate of American democracy.” This statement is a fallacy. We were supposed to be structured by the people for the people; no one clarified who the “people” were going to be. We seem to think that as citizens we have great power. We do not elect the president – that is determined by the electoral college. Our vote is an opinion poll to see if the citizens agree with who is elected.
 
How are we going to cope? The same as we always have. I marvel at how fear tactics are now seemingly crucial to our society. Why did we not put forth more effort from the beginning of our government’s decline?  When the head is corrupt the body suffers. When the head is well, the body is at peace. Remove corruption.
 
Sharon Brandon
Morrisville, North Carolina

 

 

 

 

 

 

When politicians say they will fix what they perceive to be problems, we need to ask specific questions and expect specific answers. Vague promises offer nothing
 
Mary Hiland
Gahanna, Ohio

 

 

 

 

 

 

If It Quacks Like a Duck…
 
Sometimes all we have to help us make a decision about a person—such as whether to go out with or elect them—in addition to their current behaviors and speech are those of their past. For the upcoming election, we actually have a wealth of evidence to guide us, including four years of each candidate as president, and four years post-presidency for one of them. We can also look at their decades of life before becoming president.
 
One candidate, DT, has a proven history of: lying, vengeful behavior toward those who disagree with him, secretiveness, paranoia, lack of compassion, cheating, basing decisions on whether they benefit him, nepotism, and outright admiration for dictators and dictatorships.
 
The other candidate, JB, also has current and past histories that are proven, though his are in support of our democracy. While JB has his flaws, he does not have the behaviors, characteristics, and speech  associated with a criminal. In the upcoming election, knowing what is true and what isn’t will be easy. If you hear or read something that sounds uncanny, it most likely is. Just ask yourself, does this fit? Does it make sense?
 
Denise Beck-Clark
Yonkers, New York

 

 

 


It’s over, in golden hues, photograph by Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka

 

 

 

Counting On
 
In Honor of John R. Lewis (1940-2020)
 
Here we are, 150 years after ratification of our Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments. Here we are, 60 years after hearing one spiritual declaration in Coltrane’s Love Supreme, and dancing to three singing Supremes.  Now, we blink, wince, grimace, and watch six bad-judgment-day Supremes cast their millstones across the waters.
 
We don’t know what to do or what comes next.  Sometimes we just don’t know what will become of us.  We’re juggled between faith and fear, despair and hope.  We wait and watch.  Our shadow selves cannot rob us of everything using smoke and mirrors, can they?
 
Yet from the book of John, thirteen words endure, his supreme legacy: We will find a way to make a way out of no way.  One year before he came to rest, he left us gifts in his will, Never, ever be afraid to make some noiseGet into good trouble, necessary trouble. His binding testament: Do not become bitter or hostile.  Be hopeful. Do not get lost in a sea of despair.
 
Ellen Hirning Schmidt
Ithaca, New York

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a writer and educator who holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism, I believe the bulk of our political divide stems from many of our supposed information sources. Combine that with the hierarchical influence of conservative Christianity, in which parishioners are encouraged not to question or doubt anything that comes from the pulpit, and you have a perfect storm of manipulation and control.
 
The schism started in the mid ‘80s with the rise of the religious right… But what touched the flame to the tinderbox of right-wing agita was Fox News. Fox is not news. It’s a right-wing disinformation machine created by Rupert Murdoch and fed by those who will use those unethical means to achieve their political ends. In September of 2020, Fox won a defamation lawsuit brought against the channel and its on-air personality, Tucker Carlson. Its defense? “Carlson’s statements were not statements of fact.”… The judge agreed, stating that the network “persuasively argues” that “given Mr. Carlson’s reputation, any reasonable viewer ‘arrives with an appropriate amount of skepticism’ about the statement he makes.”
 
Sure, except they don’t. I have friends who take every word from Carlson as gospel, including the belief that the “mainstream media” are lying to them. . . . Fox has a habit of conflating fact with opinion—and not just with hosts like Carlson—making it very difficult for a viewer to discern where the truth ends and spin begins.
 
I wish I had a magic fix for this problem. But the First Amendment has historically been a broad defense for this kind of toxic miscommunication, even though its effects have never been so profound or potentially far-reaching.
 
I’m not saying the media as an industry is perfect—far from it. But as a journalist, I believe we owe it to ourselves, our nation, and our children to consume and embrace truth—even when painful—rather than listening to what our “itching ears want to hear.” It’s past time to change the channel.
 
Lisa Hewitt
Winter Haven, Florida

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m looking forward to the first televised debate between Biden and Trump. I logged into Bing’s CoPilot to ask when and where it’s happening. The AI site momentarily froze, then said “It might be time to move onto a new topic. Let’s start over.” I was shocked. I’ve asked the AI site all sorts of questions, including: “I have a reservation through Ticketmaster for Stevie Nicks in Albany and they require me to use my phone to get in, but I’ve lost my phone. What can I do?” CoPilot replied “I’m sorry you lost your phone. Just go to the box office and show your I.D. and print-out of your order number, and they’ll let you in. Enjoy the concert!”
 
So why wouldn’t AI tell me when and where the first Biden/Trump debate will take place? A quick Google search told me it will be filmed at the CNN studios in Atlanta on June 27. So why the censorship? Is this part of a Deep State conspiracy?
 
It’s hard to know what news to trust. Recent clips showed Biden wandering off during a photo op with other G-7 leaders. “Meander in Chief,” the New York Post blared on its front page. Turns out he was walking over to greet a skydiver, but that wasn’t sensational enough. Better to spin the story to highlight his supposed senility.
 
Julie Lomoe
Wynantskill, New York

 

 

 

 

 

 

The November presidential election haunts the citizenry with choices many say they can’t live with. People roll their eyes when I discuss Good versus Evil, more concerned about the price of bread than human rights and freedom. I want to stop the man who gets away with anything. Stop him from fulfilling his boast that he can shoot [anyone] on Fifth Avenue and get away with it.  But how to penetrate the mindset allowing him to continue?
 
His faithful compare him to Jesus. Did Jesus pledge vengeance and riots or grab women by their privates? People want to turn back time by telling lies and rewriting history. Treating human beings as mistakes is simply preaching religion while ignoring God’s glory. My God made us all equal, same red blood, clear tears, loud laughter, regardless of who we love or what color our skin is.
 
Unfortunately, the youth of America, our future, are not listening. Disenchanted by a world filled with bloodied images, they dismiss savage lessons of history. [They are] convinced that only certain individuals have rights and impunity.
 
Who then will save America? We, the voters!  Women of all faiths, races, and ages must put aside past prejudice and vote for candidates who believe future generations of women have the right to seek healthcare and grow families without government hindering their decisions.
 
Marta Elva
Fort Myers, Florida

 

 

 

 

 

 

I do not avidly keep up with the news. I read only one local newspaper and listen to one
 
PBS news telecast most evenings. That is enough. World leaders are competing over who can make the most wars for peace, corrupt the most principals of basic human decency, accrue the most political power, terrorize the most citizens, and leave the most children orphaned and starving.
 
The comics hold more wisdom than most commentators. And the weather and its vicissitudes are the most obvious and painful signs of, yes, global warming. The cries of children everywhere are enough of a sign of the truth of our common humanity and our need to befriend, have empathy, and, yes, exercise compassionate care for all neighbors.
 
For myself, I trust the swooping performances of local birds, and the emotional honesty of my constant prayers for divine grace in every heart. Only together, and very locally, can we heal our troubled confused hearts. Talk and listen.
 
A granddaughter of mine recently asked me what I’d say if I ever got the chance to give a graduation speech to students in high school or college.  I told her I would simply say/advise the graduates to: Stop. Sit down, and shut up.
 
She laughed and told me that was the best advice she’d ever heard. Also perhaps the hardest to follow.
 
Thanks to Persimmon [Tree] for asking.
 
The Rev’d Lyn G. Brakeman
Simsbury, Connecticut

 

 

 


Fulfillment, photograph by Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka

 

 

 

The instant I open my email, the headlines entice me to open up the target banner. Then, the most essential information is either midway or almost at the end of the essay. It’s a waste of time thinking I’m going to learn something new or different.
 
I got rid of cable in April when I learned that Fox News gets a monthly stipend from my cable bill even if I never watch the station. Sneaky, right? But it seems that all the news stations get a monthly remuneration from cable subscribers even if you don’t watch, say CNN. The only reason I got cable was for MSNBC. But the feeling of pessimism appears to be escalating and the news is equally disturbing. Then there’s Trump who is either the lead in every news headline or manages a page in some part of a news story. I’m not listening anymore.
 
Since I got rid of cable, I read five books in April, three in May, and am now reading my fourth book this month. My main genre is history. When reading history, I understand some of what we’re dealing with in our world today.
 
Bernadette Inclan
Phoenix, Arizona

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most of us listen in order to get ready with a response. What’s needed is active, deep listening, the kind of listening that gives what we hear a place of respect, even when we disagree, even when facts show that what is being said is untrue. Such listening is more than hearing words; [it] involves slowing oneself down to hear underneath the speaker’s words, hear the tone of the speaker’s voice. What is the speaker’s body language, gesture, the “how” of what is said? No more quick judgment, no more them and us. Them and us is tribal. We, all of us, are a large community. [That is] what it is to be human and alive in this time on our planet. Deep, active listening makes it possible to step into a speaker’s shoes so that when you speak, dialogue occurs, not two monologues. If dialogue occurs, the possibility of understanding presents itself. It’s hard. But how else will we see through the eyes of someone else? How will we bring empathy, not judgment?
 
Elizabeth MacLeish
Charlemont, Massachusetts

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wording is the vital element. Disinformation is created when words are twisted, exaggerated, or changed to create a new meaning. Phrases can be used in the same way. It means we have to be careful in gathering “facts” and sometimes even look words up to compare definitions.
 
Carol Murphy
Santa Cruz, California

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t take any message before you find its source. Trust no political sources, no issue groups . . . , no research institutes with dictated opinions.  Know who or what funds these sources. Trust the actual voting record presented by the League of Women Voters or Vote Smart. Trust no polls that try to predict political outcomes.  Discount all speeches not vetted by the Public Broadcasting System as probably AI generated.  Read a candidate’s main goals as presented on their platform, and discount most of it.  Document what they have actually done as reported in major investigative sources like the New York Times or Washington Post.  It takes work, not guessing, impressions, feel-good ads.  We get what we deserve.
 
Sharon Scholl
Atlantic Beach, Florida

 

 

 

 

 

 

Any time lies loom larger than the truth, there’s an invisible destruction lurking about.  Stand firm.  Plant your feet firmly on the ever-waving banner of the Bible, and, freedom’s torch alight, the Constitution of the United States.  Even in her darkest days America seeks the truth, for without it we are truly lost.
 
We must continue to drink from the well of veracity; but a sip will fill and bring to remembrance these words, “If something’s not right, fair or just [, engage in] good and necessary trouble…Every day is a fight.  Just keep on believing.  The Truth can change things….”1
 
When we realize truth exists because there are lies, a marvelous opportunity arises from these strange bedfellows. “…[S]traighten up and raise your heads…2 .  When every untruth you decidedly deny, tactfully truth will thwart the lie.
 
Suzanne S. Austin-Hill
Ruskin, Florida
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overwhelming. What to read? What to believe? Online, in print, or out of the mouth of the person standing right in front of you?
 
I spend part of my day every day blocking or unsubscribing from the many unsolicited emails that inundate my inbox and text message program, arriving nonstop on my iPhone and Apple MacBook. And oh, the spam phone calls.
 
Fact: My husband and I are so old and so old school that we still subscribe to and read the print issues of our city’s newspaper, the print edition down to being published three days, Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday. The print Sunday edition alone costs $5. We don’t care. We like tangibility we can hold in our hands. Our town also has a Pulitzer Prize-winning print and online alternate weekly we trust.
 
My husband’s go-to online is CNN. I am good with the breaking news brought to me several times a day by Google. I like advertising-free Wikipedia for the place to start when I want to check majority and minority views with a variety of agendas.
 
No nightly television news for us. It’s all we can do to keep up with the online and print issues of The New Yorker magazine. And books. So many books on our nightstands, old and new, that we look to for making our reasoned decisions.
 
My feminist friends are good for keeping me abreast of what I need to know. At 79, I am running out of things I need to know. I figure that by this age, if I need to know something, it will find its way to me and then I can make a decision about whether to dig deeper.
 
I like to keep in mind William Carlos Williams’s lines, not exactly rendered gender correct as I take liberties with his poetry as follows: “It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet women die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there.”
 
When I am taking care of myself, I stick to poetry for all I need to know to keep going in the present with a modicum of serenity. Even if I have to alter it.
 
Sharon Wood Wortman
Portland, Oregon

 

In the Christian States of America, where religion rules, one woman discovers the only rules are about survival. Although she’s legally an adult, eighteen-year-old Meryn Flint must live at home until her stepfather, Ray, finds her a husband. That’s the law. But when Ray kills her mother and Meryn must flee for her own safety, she quickly discovers there’s no safe place for a woman on the run. Unless she’s willing to marry her former boyfriend—a man who’s already demonstrated his capacity for violence—she’ll be forced to live on the street. And that’s a dangerous option for a woman alone. As time runs out, Meryn is offered a third path: build herself a tiny house, a safe place to call home. Even though it’s a violation of her Family Duty as well as every moral law on the books, Meryn seizes the chance. But even a tiny tin house might not be enough to save her . . .
"A dystopian science fiction novel that is a believable extrapolation of current social, cultural, and religious attempts to restrict and roll back the rights and freedoms of women, Tiny Tin House is a masterfully crafted and riveting novel populated throughout by memorable characters.” ~ Midwest Book Review
L Maristatter has published poetry in the web journal Defunct and fiction in The Saturday Evening Post online. She is on Facebook and Twitter (regularly), and Instagram and TikTok (when she's feeling brave).
Support independent booksellers by finding Tiny Tin House on Bookshop.org or in your local bookstore. It’s also available on Amazon.

Bio

Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka is the author of two poetry books and the translator for four. Her photographs have appeared in numerous art shows, journals, and as book covers. She is the co-editor of Loch Raven Review. Born and raised in Poland, Danuta now resides in Maryland. danutakk.wordpress.com