My AWP 2022: All real, all true

Headshot of five women standing next to each other

AWP – that annual mega writing conference that some abhor and others adore, or at least like well enough to attend when they can and feel a pang of regret when they can’t. I last attended in 2019 in Portland, canceled my plans for 2020 in San Antonio as the pandemic loomed, and tuned in…

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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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Living Color: Angie Rubio Stories one year later

Drawing of a girl writing at a desk with lamp

This month marks the one-year anniversary of the publication of Living Color: Angie Rubio Stories about a brown girl just wanting to be seen and heard. It’s been weird and fun, celebrating online. Each time after an event, watching faces disappear from my screen was an eerie and sad thing. At some events, the audience…

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Donna’s Excellent 24-Hour Literary Adventure

Jane Hodges picked me up at 1:30 last Thursday afternoon at my North Seattle apartment to drive me to Mineral, a small community in the foothills of Mount Rainier. In its Wikipedia entry, Mineral’s amenities are listed as “a post office, two churches, one general store, one tavern, a log lodge (in the National Register…

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Coincidence, Luck, Magic (and My Mother) at Hedgebrook

Recently, on the third anniversary of my mother’s death, I went to Hedgebrook to have some writing time as well as to teach at the Summer Salon, a day of small-group writing workshops given in the Hedgebrook cottages. Three years earlier, I had been scheduled to do the same, but the week before my departure…

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