My Naked Face, My New Way of Seeing

black and white image of eyes of a woman

When I was in kindergarten, sitting cross-legged with my classmates at the foot of our teacher’s chair, I dreaded being called upon to name the animal in the picture she pulled like a mean magician from the deck of flashcards. The lines were imprecise, the colors bleeding into each other. I squinted to make sense…

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My Mother’s Dress

Torso of woman in black dress

Five years ago this month, my sisters and I gathered in my mother’s bedroom. She had died the previous June and we were ready to sort through her clothes. As I wrote in my January 2017 post, she had lots of them. A bulging closetful. A crammed dresser full. A jam-packed trunkful at the foot…

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There’s Gnome Place Like Home

Potted plants with garden gnomes

Much of my fiction is set in a place that resembles my hometown of National City, California and some of my characters live in a house that resembles the National City house I grew up in. I’ll argue that these similarities are due not to writerly laziness or lack of imagination, but to an emotional…

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Rejection and Acceptance

A series of the word "Declined"

Rejection is part of a writer’s life. We all know this. Rejections will outnumber acceptances. It’s a statistical certainty. So we learn to respond to rejection with acceptance—at least intellectually. But our very human emotions insist otherwise. When I receive a rejection for my work, the first thing I feel is disappointment, and then a…

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Shrinking our spaces, but not our selves

Window with view of neighborhood and cat perched on couch

I’ve written about the house we used to live in both in fiction and for a live performance (2018 Ampersand Live, minute 18:26). It was our first house, which was also our last house, the fixer-upper that never quite got fixed up enough and in the last years that we occupied it, lost many of…

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A little boy walks toward the future …

toddler walking

I think about the future a lot lately, like every day, almost endlessly. For one thing, I turn 68 in a few months and the future is not as long or as far away as it once was. For another thing, I have a grandson now, and I wonder what the future means for him.…

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December ends 2020 at last already

It’s time for some brief reflections on this pandemic year that nevertheless had its moments of grace and illumination for me as I hope it did for you. It goes without saying that it leaves lots of room for improvement.   The dispirit of Christmas On my morning walk, I often pass a house that…

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The Pandemic Days of Our Lives

In which my new book of fiction launches amid the reunion of a young family separated by the pandemic, a marriage ceremony, and a first birthday. Plane travel We’re supposed to drive, but the fires up and down the West Coast mean unexpected closures of the interstate in some areas and lanes clogged with evacuees…

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