When you’re waitlisted for the residency you applied for and you’re convinced that being waitlisted is as good as a rejection, you come up with Plan B because your characters are begging for attention, anxious to be nudged from their torpor. So you arrange time off from your day job, secure in the knowledge that…

Read More

When I was in college I took a geology class. I learned about igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks. I learned about formations and their layers of sand and stone. Whatever their scale – the immensity of a cliff or the insignificance of a pebble – I saw them as inert and objective, separate from or…

Read More

It was my choice to spend Christmas alone. Early Christmas morning my husband flew to L.A. to spend the holiday with our older daughter Natalie. She had just returned from a trip to the Philippines and getting her jetlagged self onto another plane to come to Seattle was out of the question. I’m heading to L.A.…

Read More

I’ve written about the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference before here and here. I’m doing so again. I’ve attended the conference six out of the last eight years. Three of those years I enrolled in one of the full morning workshops – a daily, intensive two and a half hours of manuscript critique or generative writing.…

Read More

It’s been decades since I’ve taken a weekly class with writing assignments. My days are spent at work in a cubicle downtown, my evenings as much as possible on my writing—right after doing the NYT crossword puzzle online. That little celebratory ditty that plays upon correct completion of the puzzle is a nice reward, but…

Read More

There’s an expectation that when you’ve had a book published you know enough to teach someone else how to do the same—not just the part about actually getting the thing into print, but the craft part too. Since my novel came out in 2011, I’ve been invited on occasion to teach a class or give…

Read More

It might be an addiction—the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference. For six of the last seven years I’ve gone. Before I started the run at the PT conference, I’d been to others and enjoyed them all—Squaw Valley, Napa Valley, VONA, Bread Loaf. Two summers ago I attended the Taos Summer Writers Conference. I loved that one,…

Read More

When we’re wishing hard for something, we feel that the universe can grant only so many wishes, that one must prioritize, perhaps weigh the greater good against the personal gain. During Super Bowl Week earlier this year my family, like so many others in Seattle, was caught up in Seahawks Fever. Who doesn’t like a…

Read More

At Hedgebrook’s recent annual fundraiser called Equivox—equal voice—to support women’s stories as vehicles for change, I was again much moved by the sheer energy, goodwill, and, yes, love that this very special writing retreat inspires among alumnae and community supporters. This year I got to meet Hollis Wong-Wear, alumna of the Hedgebrook Songwriter’s Retreat, and…

Read More