Rachel Swirsky is on destination two of her bad weather tour of the United States -- Bakersfield, California, where the summer days regularly heat up to one hundred and fifteen degrees of desert sun. Before moving west, she lived in Iowa City, where ice storms and blizzards provided a chilly background to her MFA studies at the Iowa Writers Workshop.
Who knows where her next destination will be? Lava fields? The center of a black hole? A shanty in a part of Alaska where polar bears hunt humans with one paw over their noses, to conceal their one black feature so they blend into vast, blank white? She will sit, wrapped in synthetics and faux fur, shivering while she bangs out stories.