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
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
...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
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
...joy 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