Memoirs of influence including Citizen by Claudia Rankine, The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch, The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit, and Safekeeping by Abigail Thomas.

Under the influence

Readers are influenced by the books they love, and writers doubly so: not only do we think for months or years about our favorite books, we refer to them, consciously or unconsciously, when we write. While I worked on my memoir California Calling, I read and referred to a stack of books that deeply informed how I approached my writing. Some of these books influenced … Continue reading Under the influence

My memoir book cover is here, and it’s so much

After a few iterations, my final cover is heading for galley printing! I am blown away by how Hawthorne’s designer, Adam McIsaac, captured the themes and feel of my story in the aesthetics of the book cover. And I feel so lucky to be with a publisher that still values the importance of a high-quality cover with double-scored flaps, a silky nonscuff matte lamination, and … Continue reading My memoir book cover is here, and it’s so much

Poems from the inside

  From October 2015 through April 2016, I taught poetry with the Pongo Teen Writing Project, serving on a team of five mentors at the Child Study and Treatment Center (CSTC), Washington’s only public residential psychiatric facility for youth, located in Lakewood, Washington. The experience was life-changing – at times depressing, occasionally frightening, constantly emotional and ultimately redemptive. For the privacy of the students I … Continue reading Poems from the inside

Artist and choreographer Jessica Jobaris

The information is in the flesh: an interview with Jessica Jobaris

“I’m really into disruption.” I knew the moment Jessica Jobaris said these words to me in a big-windowed café in Fremont on a bright winter day, I could trust her. And that once this critical relationship was established trust between the artist and the observer/participant (and in this case, interviewer) I could look openly into her experiences and therefore also into my own. I could … Continue reading The information is in the flesh: an interview with Jessica Jobaris

In The Cut on the heartbreak of now

While I’m scrambling to feel sane in the wake of the what-the-fuck-just-happened election, I’m trying to plan my reactions and responses by looking at events through the lens of parenthood. At the heart of it, that is what I am now, a mother. Finding our voices in the midst of community is some small comfort and a first step toward what comes next. In that … Continue reading In The Cut on the heartbreak of now

Reading at Seattle’s Lit Crawl

        I’ll be reading a new piece at Seattle’s Lit Crawl on Oct. 27. It’s about the things we cannot leave behind. I’ll be reading with other talented parent writers as part of an event called Father, Mother, Other. Please come hear us! Father, Mother, Other Parenting is not all coziness, cookie baking, and watching them score soccer goals. There is spilled milk, endless … Continue reading Reading at Seattle’s Lit Crawl

Honorable mention, AWP Intro Journals Project

My essay “There is But One Choice: Confession or Some Form of Extinction” has received an honorable mention in the 2016 AWP Intro Journals Project, a literary competition for the discovery and publication of the best new works by students currently enrolled in AWP member programs. Program directors are invited to nominate students’ works. The essay contains an excerpt from my memoir-in-progress. Continue reading Honorable mention, AWP Intro Journals Project

Exploring the impact of ‘domestic’ writing on the mother artist

I am so overwhelmed to have this critical essay published in the incredible journal Literary Mama. It explores how reading poet Bernadette Mayer’s book-length epic poem, Midwinter Day, which she wrote in a single day on December 22, 1978, helped me move past my reluctance to write about my domestic realm. Read the piece here.   Continue reading Exploring the impact of ‘domestic’ writing on the mother artist

On mother artists: an interview with playwright Emily Conbere

The playwright, Emily Conbere. The dramatic changes motherhood imposes onto one’s life tend to get all the attention. But partnership and marriage can do a number on you, too. And it’s those intimate, umbral spaces of marriage that Seattle playwright Emily Conbere mines in her psychological thriller, Knocking Bird, now playing at West Lenin. I became interested in Conbere’s work when I learned that not only … Continue reading On mother artists: an interview with playwright Emily Conbere

8 Winter/Spring 2014 Writing Contests in Memoir/Creative NF

I usually have to force myself to submit to contests, but a few of the times I have, great things have happened. Part of the dread of course stems from needing something to submit. But the other part is all the legwork to figure out what contests apply to your genre, what the deadlines and submission guidelines are, etc. Here’s a list of eight nine upcoming … Continue reading 8 Winter/Spring 2014 Writing Contests in Memoir/Creative NF

How to Pitch an Editor, Not Piss Her Off

I’ll be teaching a session with this nearly-rude title at an amazing writer retreat this June at Doe Bay put on by my dear friend and author Theo Pauline Nestor. From the description: The Doe Bay Work-On-That-Book Writers’ Retreat will be four days in the stunning beauty of Orcas Island at Doe Bay Resort & Retreat. During those four days, you will have the opportunity … Continue reading How to Pitch an Editor, Not Piss Her Off

Write Fear

Today was an overwhelming day, because I had the opportunity to be surrounded by some of the most inspiring people I have met. As part of my  job as the managing editor of a parenting magazine, I help honor about a dozen changemakers for our annual Superheroes issue. Today, I met many of the upcoming honorees, all of whom have done,  in their given field, … Continue reading Write Fear

Alligator Juniper National Writing Contest

It’s officially out, the poster that proves I won a writing award. So what if I look like a convict? I. Won. Something. And Alligator Juniper, one of the best literary journals in the West, is now taking pre-orders for the 2013 issue (where my story, How to Be Analog, appears). This journal is truly a beautiful work of art (read a superb interview with founding … Continue reading Alligator Juniper National Writing Contest

Nanny

This is an excerpt from piece titled “Nanny,” part of an in-progess collection of stories about California.

corvetteposterThe black Corvette was parked inside the Greens’ three-car garage, and I was curved into the front passenger seat. I’d never been in a Corvette before, and Michael Green knew it. He paused before turning the key in the ignition, as though this quiet moment before I would feel the deep rumble of his sports car through the lower half of my teenage body was sacred. The automatic garage door was still closed, secreting us inside.

Michael’s wife and his three daughters had already left in the other car for the high school play they’d invited me to. I was driving with Michael because there weren’t enough seats in the other car. I was their nanny.

“Hot machine, isn’t it?” Michael said, leaning across the front seat to give the caramel leather that wraps the dashboard a slow stroke. “How fast do you think she goes?” he asked, looking at me.

The Corvette was tiny inside; we were only a few inches from each other. It smelled like a faint whiff of cigar and a thicker cloud of cologne. In the low bucket seat I was half reclining.

I had no idea how fast the Corvette goes, but I was beginning to wonder how many minutes’ behind we were and what Sharon and the girls were going to think was holding us up.

“I don’t know?” I asked, smiling nervously.

Continue reading “Nanny”

Confessions of a Connection Whore

Breast-pump malfunction, sexual fumblings, the truth about my in-laws, insecure angst: All things I have written about, for familiars and perfect strangers alike to read. For every one of these humbling confessions, there will be many, many more. As many as I can write and convince people, hoards of them, to read. The more transparent and honest and laid bare I am, the better. My … Continue reading Confessions of a Connection Whore

The West is Best

OK, that might be a rather opinionated headline. But after 18 years as a nonnative transplant to the West, I am fine courting controversy and risking argument in order to state what I truly believe, that life in the West has a special timbre and tenue to it, a chromacity hard to explain to those who haven’t watched the sun draw down on the Pacific or seen the … Continue reading The West is Best

Torn open by a sweater

It didn’t hit me until I was almost through the day. I woke up this morning, and for a little while I actually forgot. It was a Sunday after all, lazy and slow. I opened the newspapers just before the coffee boiled, and then I remembered. Oh yes, I thought to myself. It’s today. I skimmed the photos, read a bit about victims’ losses, the … Continue reading Torn open by a sweater