Anthrow Circus

Turning Down the Temperature With a Cup of Coffee

STORY AND PHOTOS BY JOANNA MARSH

Say someone hands you a large blue marble with streaks of white and blotches of green. That marble represents the Earth and has a special power: Its surface temperature varies based on the stress levels of a region. The higher the stress, the more that portion of the Earth-marble heats up.

Now put your thumb on the marble’s Washington, D.C., spot. You will find that it’s very hot. So hot that your thumbprint’s ridges are on the cusp of burning away. But then just as the stress-heat seems unbearable, something cool pulses, steadying you.

View From a Pandemic: Missing People Whose Names I Don’t Know

STORY BY JOANNA MARSH

Throughout the past year, I have wondered how “that woman” is doing. I don’t know her name, but I can see her face clearly in my mind: the brown eyes under thick eyebrows, the sharp nose, her black hair pulled back in a French braid.

I saw her regularly at the Washington, D.C., area gym where I worked out. She was chatty with the other women in the ladies’ locker room, often dominating the conversation. She cornered me once and asked whether I would take her into my house as a renter. She would be a good roommate, she said. Unobtrusive and tidy and responsible. Politely, I replied that I would let her know if I heard of anyone looking for roommates. She also worked in the childcare room at the gym, but my 6-year-old son didn’t like her and refused to come to the gym with me if she was going to be there. Was she mean? I asked. No, he replied, she just completely ignores us.Read More »

When Community Feeds the Courage to Create

BY JOANNA MARSH

When Jennifer Trafton started thinking about her next children’s novel, she began picturing a young Don Quixote who saw the world a little differently from everyone else. And like Don Quixote, this character—an eight-year-old boy named Henry—would have a quest to fulfill: to share his vision and his artistic gifts for the benefit of the wider community.