You Are Doing Something Important When You Aren't Doing Anything
Fallow time is necessary to grow everything from actual crops to figurative ones, like books and children. To do the work, we need to rest, to read, to reconnect. It is the invisible labor that makes creative life possible.
Read the essay, one of the most shared stories in The New York Times the weekend of June 21, 2019, here.
Queens of the Kitchen
There is a moment when the kitchen reliably fails women, and particularly women of color—when the kitchen becomes a place of business.
Read the essay here, part of the Antiracism & America series for The Guardian, April 11, 2019.
My Artist Father Taught Me the Art of Vanishing
My father was missing. How could I put him back in the picture?
Read the essay about my dad, love, art, and near death here in Catapult Magazine, February 6, 2019.
At Surf Camp 2.0, Data Rules
“It’s as if the N.F.L. postgame practice met your honeymoon and they had a baby.” What happens in a week at the Surf Simply coaching resort in Nosara, Costa Rica.
Read the cover story here, in The New York Times, February 3, 2019.
Plastic thank-you bags have a special history in Chinatown. It’s changing.
As more cities restrict single-use plastic bags for environmental reasons, designers offer durable alternatives to a familiar icon.
Read the story here, in National Geographic, January 7, 2019
'Entering Burn Area': Yosemite After the Fire
America’s national parks are increasingly bearing the burden of climate change, as rising temperatures and new weather patterns create mega blazes. A report from the burn zone.
Read the cover story here, in The New York Times, November 5, 2018
Female big-wave surfers prepare to compete on Mavericks’s 50-foot waves for the first time.
Read the cover story here, in the August/September 2018 issue of California Sunday magazine
The Balm of the Baking Show
I don’t actually bake. But lately I’ve fallen into the habit of watching baking shows, as an end-of-day balm for the caustic world at large.
Read the essay here, in The San Francisco Chronicle special MATRIARCHY issue, October 26, 2018
The Long In-Between
“There are signs around town that say, Thank you for saving us,” one victim said. “But what happens when you weren’t saved?” Five fire refugees describe their lives in limbo.
Read the story here, in the February/March 2018 issue of California Sunday magazine
The Poet Editor of West Marin
Tess Elliott didn’t set out to run a newspaper. At the legendary Point Reyes Light she’s learned a lot about conflict, transparency, and endurance.
Read the profile here, in Spring 2017 issue of The Columbia Journalism Review
Why Is Asian Salad Still on the Menu?
I found myself face to face once again with the curious modern-day ubiquity of the Asian salad.
Read the essay here, in The New York Times Sunday Review, April 27, 2017
Hong Kong's Skyline Farmers
It was a breezy afternoon in Hong Kong’s central business district, and the view from the roof of the Bank of America Tower, thirty-nine floors up, was especially fine.
Read the story here, in The New Yorker, March 13, 2017
Eleven Thousand Bowls of Soup
What happens when Michelin recognizes street food?
Read the story here, in the February/March 2017 issue of California Sunday magazine
Drinking By Numbers
I live at the place where these circles meet: I am the Venn diagram of drinking as habitual and easy entertainment.
Read the essay here, in The New York Times Sunday Review, June 18, 2016
The Bionic Woman of Good Science
How an ecologist of tidal communities became a global diplomat for the ocean.
Read the profile in the May/June 2016 Water Issue of Pacific Standard magazine
The Little Boat That Could
Most of the boat is asleep when we pass through Ballard Locks in Seattle shortly before midnight.
Read the cover story on small ships here, in The New York Times, March 15, 2016
Trick Your Brain and Smile
When an artist of optimism is cruelly taken away, what remains of her message?
Read the story of Susan O’Malley here, in the January 2016 issue of San Francisco magazine
Choose Your Own Identity
I never realized how little I understood race until I tried to explain it to my 5-year-old son.
Read the essay here, in The New York Times Magazine, December 14, 2015
The Undress Code
I wore a sweater with holes in it. It’s this sweater he refers to, in an email that shows up in my inbox nearly 15 years later.
Read the essay here, in The New York Times Sunday Review, November 12, 2015
What It's Like to Be Chinese in America's Chinese City
This story was published as part of an entire issue dedicated to “The Chinese City” that was nominated for a National Magazine Award.
Read the essay here, in the April 2015 issue of San Francisco magazine
Souring on Shark Fin Soup
Success in China would be an important step toward saving sharks from extinction, but also toward showing how changing mass-consumption behaviors could benefit the environment.
Read the essay here, in The New York Times Sunday Review, June 29, 2013.
Bonnie has also written for The Atlantic, Outside, The Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian, WIRED, Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, O the Oprah Magazine, Condé Nast Traveller, Salon, Sunset, The Wall Street Journal, Mother Jones, National Geographic, and more. This is a selection of her work.