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Selected Works

I am an award-winning former journalist whose writing has appeared on National Public Radio, the On Being blog, in ELLE magazine, at Image, River Teeth, and Creative Nonfiction, among other publications. I began as a poet, and, in many ways, my prose remains steeped in poetry's music.


One last thing: Even though these are my bylines, I hope that you find yourself in these writings. 


Three years into our marriage, when my husband admits that he hadn’t wanted to have sex on our wedding night, I see the books. He sits framed by a wall of them, his books, my books, our books, from Allende to Woolf, lined up in the living room. These are the bookshelves I’d aspired to whenever I imagined making a home, the room that gave me such pleasure on long walks as I glimpsed it from the street. From the outside, at least, this room resembled the life I’d dreamed of. Read more

Corner Table


The guy who resembles my dead brother turns up at my favorite Vietnamese restaurant, two blocks from the office. The meaty, familiar look of him distracts me, fascinates me—stocky frame, lightly bearded face, strong nose: fullness, everywhere, my brother Michael, everywhere.

When I encounter Michael’s lookalike, for a few moments he feels a little less dead. Read more

Rock in Stream

Lunch Ticket

...Life divides in these moments: There’s the Before, and the After. I am 26 years old as liver cancer poisons my father’s quick, beautiful brain.

In the Before, I wonder if my art history degree is worthless now that I’ve opted not to pursue the PhD.

This moment launches me into the After. What have I given my father? I’ve never even bought him lunch. But I can wash him clean. This will have to suffice as my first and final offering.

But I also worry: How long can we last? Translation: Please die soon, I can’t believe you’re dying, don’t go, don’t stay, not like this. Read more

Temple Candles

Image Journal

On praying with the grandmothers of Florence: “I suspect that they have mostly accepted their religion as something like an arranged marriage to a nice-enough guy—a situation they didn’t choose but that nonetheless offers its comforts—rather than how I tend to conduct my relationship with God: like a tanking romance with a guy who can’t understand what I’m so worked up about, again. Read more

The On Being Project

I know Rachel Carson assured us that “those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” But how can these “reserves of strength” bolster towns squeezed hard in the grip of asphalt and fluorescence?...

Yet, I know this — If I am waiting on the lush green embrace of a prayer garden, I am lost and far from home. Read more

Raindrops on Window
Abandoned Home

Relief Journal

"There’s a lot that no one ever tells you. No one ever told me how despair can get physical, muscle in and sprawl heavy across the chest." ---From The House With No Floors. Read more

River Teeth

My brother and I grab hold of dangling metal chains fastened to schoolyard swings in this expanse of crabgrass, red dirt, goalposts, and hard bleachers, where he'd slapped the face of the sky with baseballs all those years ago, where I'd ducked every flying thing. Read More

Night Sky
Glowing exit sign hanging from the ceiling


My father tried to teach me the importance of hard work, long hours, and dedication to a career. But then there are the things he taught me unintentionally, like when he arrived home from work for the last time and crawled up the stairs. Listen/Read more.

Lunch Ticket

Perhaps the water pouring over her thumb feels like the only kindness in her life that night, with three shaggy kids, a pissy husband, and not enough money, never enough money, jobs coming and going.

Perhaps she’s thinking, I didn’t sign up for thisRead more.

Image by Andrew Neel

ELLE doesn't just show up on the front lawn and begin doling out blank checks. Joy must be beckoned. Joy must be tended.

I realize joy is a squirrelly word, right up there beside its abused siblings, mindful and empowered. I don't care. I am committed to the ongoing work of joy, and I don't mean a deaf-and-dumb, smiley-face-emoji brand of joy. I'm talking eyes-wide-open joy that sees the world for what it is and chooses to remain soft anyway. Read more

Clocks on Shelf
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