I’m at Mineral School, an artist residency in the town of Mineral, WA (population 200), just off the highway that leads to Mount Rainier. My writing studio and my living space is an old classroom. That’s 800 square feet of classroom, bigger than the apartment my husband and I recently moved into. If I knew…

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Many years ago, I left my laptop open and my younger daughter read the story I happened to be working on. She asked, “Why did you make me a boy in that story.” “It’s not about you,” I answered. Another time she asked why I killed her off in a story. It’s not about you,…

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Gravitational pull I hadn’t been to Mexico since 1976 when I attended a summer session in Guadalajara after completing an undergraduate degree in zoology. I signed up for Mexican History and Intermediate Spanish but spent most of the time hanging out with a Chicana from L.A. We had spotted each other the first day across…

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I recently spent eight days in the Philippines. That’s eight days out of 64 years of my life. I’ve made a list of over a dozen topics I want to write about. Is it arrogantly absurd that the topics number more than the days I was there? How do I swoop in and out of…

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November 1 is the one-year anniversary of the publication of Hola and Goodbye! I’m marking the occasion by matching some favorite photos of events I did over the past year with excerpts from stories in the book. One of the first events I did was at the North Carolina Writers Network Conference where I sat…

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I’m going to the Philippines in November for the first time. It’s past time. The scenes in my first book When the de la Cruz Family Danced that were set in the Philippines were wholly imagined. They could’ve been based on first-hand experience if four decades ago I’d chosen differently When I finished college, my…

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My hometown of National City, CA claims a modest but eclectic list of notables. The Return of the Killer Tomatoes, starring George Clooney, was filmed in National City. The serial killer Andrew Cunanan was born in National City. Olympic sprinter Gail Devers graduated from my high school, Sweetwater Union High, and Rosie Hamlin, lead singer…

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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…

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