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

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

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


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”