Welcoming BetterArts Resident Lily Chiu

Lily Chiu is a writer and poet joining us this month at Better Farm through a betterArts residency.

"I believe the best stories elicit truths about our humanity," Lily wrote to us in her application. "When my father told stories at night, I insisted on no fairytales. I wanted to hear about his childhood in Taiwan. I wanted the grit of how his brother, using a heavy iron bell, inflicted a blow to his forehead that left a scar still visible to this day. Without knowing it at the time, I wanted the truth of his experience.

"When I write, I am grasping for that same truth, not the kind defined by facts, but the emotional center, what Henri Cole described as 'feeling the flesh of what is human.' I am interested in contradictions—the sweet married to the bitter, how presence is defined by absence, how, in Rilke's words, 'it is alternately stone in you and star.' I want to explore how we live despite and because of them."

Lily's a Stanford University graduate who's alternately worked as a project manager for Boltnet, director of Marketing with eduFire, and senior sales engineer with Omniture. She's taking this month to focus solely on her writing. Lily will spend her betterArts residency continuing a body of work about contradictions; particularly what it means to be alive through the juxtaposition of nature and human beings. Ultimately this work is moving toward a larger collection of her writing.

Lily grew up in Oneida, N.Y., leaving when she was 10 years old for a small desert town in Southern California. "My fondest memories," she told us, "the ones that haunt my writing, are those of morning glories unfurling at first light [in Oneida], and the stark silhouette of weeping willows in our backyard at dusk. I have wanted to return for a long while now. I can't imagine a better place for my writing than betterArts."

For more information about betterArts' residency program, click here.

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.