The Depths Beneath

On the last warm day of 2012, I rented a kayak and paddled out into Lake Union in Seattle. Just as I adjusted the rudder, guiding the bow east and across the lake, I was seized with panic. I thought of the depths below me. Fifty feet under my hull, there was only darkness. NotContinue reading “The Depths Beneath”

Fear of the Unknown

I’m not sure I understand writer’s block. A student came to me asking how she could overcome her anxiety about writing. She said she was afraid that she would write her essay, and it wouldn’t be perfect. “Okay,” I said. “So it’s not perfect. Look–I find it helpful to imagine the very worst thing thatContinue reading “Fear of the Unknown”

Shakespeare Goes Manga

This is for real, people. So there I was, in the public library, and BAM! Like Batman’s fist in a villain’s face, I found Shakespeare-as-graphic-novel. My first reaction was repulsion: NOOOO! But then–hmm. Could this be a good thing for the Bard? I cracked it open, to see how they handled the iambic pentameter, theContinue reading “Shakespeare Goes Manga”

Take a Moment to Reflect, Macbeth

We all get ahead of ourselves sometimes. And Macbeth most of all, the renowned literary critic Harold Bloom argues in his essay on Shakespeare’s play. It’s his imagination that’s at fault, Bloom writes, turning him into “an overanxious actor always missing his cues.” As soon as he imagines something, he’s already there–unable to exist inContinue reading “Take a Moment to Reflect, Macbeth”

I’m Shy. Deal With It.

Or so I used to think. But then I realized it was getting out of hand. I thought I was just an introvert, mistaken for a shy person. Introverts often prefer to be alone; shy people are scared of social interactions with strangers. It’s a big difference. And then I ventured forth into the world.Continue reading “I’m Shy. Deal With It.”

How You Get There

The crazy thing about the creative process–well, one of the plethora of crazy things–is that it isn’t linear. In fact, it’s an awful lot like shooting down a mountain creek in your kayak and hoping things turn out okay. I was talking over my novel with a fellow writer today, and she was interested inContinue reading “How You Get There”

When Memory Overtakes You

Where I was born. Where my grandparents’ ashes are scattered to a wind that whips up the dirt in fallow fields, sending great clouds of dust into the air. Home. A friend of mine just got back from her first trip to the Philippines in 16 years. She visited her elementary school, her childhood home,Continue reading “When Memory Overtakes You”

A Certain Kind of Beauty

“You have to smile like this,” and my friend gave a tight-lipped smile. “Like you’re not sure. And you have to keep your chin down at an angle, like this.” I was sitting across a cafe table from one of my oldest and dearest friends, who was generously giving me some pointers now that I’mContinue reading “A Certain Kind of Beauty”