Why Didn’t She Leave?

Because her husband had the health insurance and her child had a serious medical condition and she knew in her gut he was mean enough to cut them both off the health plan if she tried anything. Because daycare is so expensive, and she couldn't afford to leave and wait for a two-year court case … Continue reading Why Didn’t She Leave?

The Essay as Buddhist Practice

Sitting on my cushion to meditate, I sometimes feel like I’m burrowing inside an essay. And at the keyboard, I take out a few Buddhist tools to chip away at whatever subject I’m pursuing. One of my teachers, Elizabeth Mattis Nyamgel, has a book called The Heart of an Open Question, which was really important … Continue reading The Essay as Buddhist Practice

Recommitting to Action

Remember back in 2016 when we thought the year was so impossible because a bunch of rock stars died? Hahahaha. Ha. Ha. (I'm not trying to downplay those losses, but the losses since then have been... Ugh. Yeah.) So you've lived through 2017 too, and it was stunningly rough. And now we are in for … Continue reading Recommitting to Action

Doing the Work: Finding Places to Publish

To new creative writers, the array of literary journals available can seem quite overwhelming, and I completely understand that. However, I'd encourage you to do the slow work of navigating this universe rather than hoping for a shortcut. Often new writers will ask, "Where do you think I should publish this piece?" and I'd like … Continue reading Doing the Work: Finding Places to Publish

The Engines of Nonfiction: Kindling Surprise

This thing is a large plastic container I bought in the duty free section of a German airport on the way home from my aunt's funeral a few years ago. My mom was with me, shaking her head and laughing at this most irrational purchase. It was FILLED with my most favorite candy, called in … Continue reading The Engines of Nonfiction: Kindling Surprise

Your Trumplandia Horoscope

for the week of November 6   Aries: Ok, so you  may have burned through almost all of your Facebook friends with fits of blocking and unfriending. It's been a rough few years: yes, this past one, but also the campaign. The thing is, some of those people you unfriended were bots, but others were … Continue reading Your Trumplandia Horoscope

Trauma Anniversary, Nov. 8

Some anniversaries of loss come, for me, in a kind of anxious restlessness, where I'm churning far above my body, wondering why I feel so disconnected. Others come with the feeling of being pulled into a pit. In many cases, I'm not self-aware enough to really understand what motions my body and psyche are going … Continue reading Trauma Anniversary, Nov. 8

Writing about Disability and Illness… in Pittsburgh and online!

On August 12, I will be leading a one-day workshop, with Creative Nonfiction on "Extraordinary Embodiment: writing disability and chronic illness" in Pittsburgh. Yay! If you (or yinz) are in the area, I hope you'll consider joining me. Illness and disability are universal human experiences. But too often written works about these experiences can be … Continue reading Writing about Disability and Illness… in Pittsburgh and online!

Post-Publication Book Awards

After my first book, Opa Nobody, was published, I suddenly realized there was a thing called post-publication book awards. I was in the flurry of trying to promote the book and therefore getting used to this foreign book-promotion world. I was also working full time, and, to make things complicated, I the mom of a … Continue reading Post-Publication Book Awards

Letter to Myself, as a Depressed Person in These Times

Dear Sonya, I wanted to remind you that given the state of the nation and government, it’s totally normal to be super-depressed. The daily assaults on reason, fact, morality, and the future itself all seem to require a candle lit in the house of mourning. And you—while making your calls and going to rallies—have lit … Continue reading Letter to Myself, as a Depressed Person in These Times

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