Category Archives: Danger Zones & Dark Sides

The Dark Matter

Do you feel it, the desire to tiptoe into the New Year, lest you wake a new giant that might confront you with another endurance test of our humanity, our environment, our peace? Yet it was with unexpected joy that I opened my mailbox this holiday season to find a reminder to never give up on the power of words to open us to the possibility of a better world. That reminder is Abrazos, the 10th Anniversary Anthology of DoveTales, which is the literary journal of the nonprofit Writing for Peace. Below is a copy of my essay, The Dark Matter, which I was honored to discover included. If you’d like to buy the whole anthology, full of the work of writers for whom words are meaningful conduits of peace, limited copies are still available at WritingForPeace.org.

The Dark Matter
Cara Lopez Lee

I’ve been feeling the loneliness that comes with the realization that not only do others not see the world the same way as I, but that nobody sees it the same way at all. Not a one. Not even the people who vote the same. Not even the people who like the same movies, books, and dances. Not the dearest of friends.

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Old Mr. Ma – Cara Tells a Story of Home for The Storytellers Project

As many of you know, I’m writing a historical novel inspired by family stories my Mexican-Chinese grandma used to tell me: tales of secret immigrants and mixed races, family loyalties and betrayals. I’m also involved in the world of live personal storytelling, and The Storytellers Project recently invited me to share a true story about my search for my ancestral past. Here’s a video of that virtual show on the theme of Home. You’ll see my 9-minute story at 19:34. Warning: In the story, I mention sexual abuse, though not in a graphic way.

Never Kill A Dog Or Cat In Your Novel: a writer’s guide – Cara Lopez Lee’s humor writing on Slackjaw

Almost nobody would publish my funny little ditty, Never Kill A Dog Or Cat In Your Novel, because they found it a tad too disturbing. Cue Slackjaw, a humor journal that specializes in over-the-top weirdness. Thank you, Slackjaw, because without you I’d be forced to conform, and I just don’t know how. You can check out this devilish little 4-minute read…here.

Cara Gets a Reporting Job – Storytelling at Two Truths and a Lie (Video)

A story can mean different things at different times. In 2019, I first told this one, Cara Lopez Lee Gets A Reporting Job (a.k.a. The Boss of Last Resort) for Daniel David Shapiro’s podcast, Two Truths and a Lie. It’s the story of the most racist, sexist, intolerant tyrant I ever worked for, back in the 90’s. I share it now as a small underline to America’s cry for change in 2020. I previously shared the podcast, but below is the video of me telling the story to our live audience. It was one of the two true stories in the show.

I have not lived an African American experience, though I carry African DNA from my ancestors. And this story does not directly address the recent murder of George Floyd, or police brutality against people of color, though I am outraged by such injustices. Neither is this story about the Black Lives Matter movement, though BLM gave me impetus to share it now. Still, I want to take this opportunity to reiterate: Black Lives Matter. Maybe if we say it enough, and back it up with meaningful action, we’ll begin to create change.

Disaster Pants – Cara’s Personal Story on the Thomas Fire, published in Writing For Peace

Just before the new coronavirus became the 2020 Pandemic, my story Disaster Pants was published in DoveTales, the journal of the nonprofit Writing for Peace. I briefly stopped sharing the link to that story, about living through the Thomas Fire, when fears over the impending COVID-19 Pandemic began to swirl. Didn’t want to add insult to injury. But now that much of the world is in lockdown, and many of us are stuck at home, I hope it’s a good time to share this story…

Here in Ventura, my husband and I weren’t sure we’d get through the Thomas Fire intact. We did, though we’ll never be the same. Not everyone will get through COVID-19, but most will. As we all come together by increasing our social distance, I hope you’ll accept Disaster Pants as my gift to you, a reflection on fortitude in the face of trials. I hope this story reminds you of your own strength to endure, with your humor and compassion all the greater for it:

Lost In L.A. – Cara Live at The Moth StorySlam in L.A.

At The Moth StorySlam in L.A., at Busby’s East on December 11, 2019, I told a true personal story I’ve long hoped to tell, on a theme that means a lot to me: Family. It marked one of my most treasured moments connecting with an audience. I was proud to come in third place with my tale, Lost In L.A., neck and neck with a couple of terrific fellow storytellers. Thank you for listening, and for supporting stories!

Lost In L.A. (courtesy of The Moth) from Cara Lopez Lee on Vimeo

Cara Gets a Reporting Job – Storytelling at Two Truths and a Lie (Podcast)


I suspect we all have a story about some crazy boss who we feared might destroy our lives. I recently shared such a story on Daniel David Shapiro’s podcast, Two Truths and a Lie. There is so much unbelievable drama in real life, but also so much surprising truth in fiction, that I can’t help but love Dan’s description of his show: “a podcast about truth, fiction, and the hazy line in between.” Whether he asks me to tell the truth or a fabulation, it’s always a thrill to share a story with Dan’s live audience. Here’s a link to the story I told for his recent episode, “Bosses.” I’m the first storyteller in the podcast, but I hope you’ll listen to all three so you can join the fun and try to guess who’s lying. Of course, you can always cheat and jump to the Reveal episode for the answer…but what fun would that be?