I’m the author of five books, including  three books of creative nonfiction: Opa NobodyCover Me: A Health Insurance Memoir, and Pain Woman Takes Your Keys: Essays from a Nervous System. My other books include a textbook, The Backwards Research Guide for Writers: Using Your Life for Reflection, Connection, and Inspiration and The Evolution of Hillary Rodham Clinton. I’m a disabled writer with rheumatoid disease and a longtime activist who teaches at Fairfield University. You can scroll down for more on the books.

The blog where I rave about my solar panels, complain about chronic pain, list teaching and shadow syllabi things, and propose new and outlandish schemes? That’s right here.

My work has been published in literary journals and magazines including The New York Times, Creative Nonfiction, Brevity, Fourth Genre, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and the Washington Post Magazine. I teach in the Department of English at Fairfield University and in the Fairfield Low-Residency MFA Program. You can find more of my online essays and commentary here. My work won the 2012 Terrain.org Award in Nonfiction and is included in True Stories, Well Told: From the First Twenty Years of Creative Nonfiction; other essay have been named Notable in the Best American Essays 2014 and 2015. I also published an e-book on direct care work with SheBooks, Two Eyes are Never Enough: A Minimum-Wage Memoir.

Sonya sitting in a chair grinning wearing orange tights and black boots
Sonya sitting in a chair grinning wearing orange tights and black boots

My informal bio with more of the real dirt is here. I blog a lot on random stuff. I wrote the Shadow Syllabus. I write a lot about healthcare, government and economics, being a parent, being politically active, and general nerdery.

3 thoughts on “About

  1. I recently read your essay, “WRITING WITH AND THROUGH PAIN” that you recently published in June. I found it very interesting as I am currently in that 20’s stage and think I know what “good wriitng” actually is. I’m a current student at the University of Washington studying education/economics in my undergrad. I’m in a sort of exploratory mode with my writing as I’m on break.

    I’m on a mission of sorts. I’m working as a career counselor at a high school and am beginning to think about the characterization and nature of conversations. I’m having conversations with students about their plans and interests for life after high school. I’m finding that my discussions are happening in talking spaces that are filled with the student’s attitude, emotion, and pain. The good part is that they’re awful at hiding it. This gives me an avenue to rationalizing things to them in ways I can’t do with adults. I sort of get to see their emotional “hand” in a way that an adult wouldn’t let me. Although I’m pretty good at recognizing this stuff in student’s demeanor and speech, I need to get better at it.

    I’m a 21 year old college kid who is in a position of power (In relation to the student) and am also very close in age to the students. I have the ability to rationalize things much more effectively than tenured counselors, but at the same time, I’m looking for ways to improve the effectiveness of my position, as I think there’s more I can do. I was hoping I could bounce some thoughts off you and see if I can gain any insight from your experiences as I think an exploration into the topics in your essay could help me focus curriculum/conversation in ways that better rationalize career-related concepts for students while simultaneously establishing the “vision” they need to achieve their goals.

    My email is daniel240990@gmail.com.

    I hope I hear back!


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