The Moral Imperative to Accept Refugees

How many of you have actually known refugees, personally? How many of you have sat beside them at a table and listened to their stories? Raise your hands. Okay, if you raised your hand, you’re free to go. Once you’ve sat across the table from a refugee and looked into their faces as they’ve toldContinue reading “The Moral Imperative to Accept Refugees”

Give Your Characters Your Darkest Secrets

In my twenties and even early thirties, I wrote characters that were vindications of myself. My protagonists were always goody two-shoes, virtue dripping off them like maple syrup off a pancake. Smugly sweet. I didn’t want to think that maybe sometimes I’m a horrible person. That maybe the wrongs that had upset me most stoodContinue reading “Give Your Characters Your Darkest Secrets”

Forgiving My Ex

From an abusive childhood to a dysfunctional first marriage, I’ve had a lot to heal from. Don’t we all. And in the many books I’ve read about healing, experts vary in their emphasis on forgiveness as part of the healing process. Some insist it’s necessary, others that it’s helpful, and a few that you canContinue reading “Forgiving My Ex”

Women Running: A Feminist History

We go back at least 2500 years, to the Heraean Games of ancient Greece–the women-only version of the Olympics held every four years and led by a committee of 16 female leaders. Or we can turn to Sparta, the most egalitarian of Greece’s city-states where young women regularly competed in footraces, and men chose wivesContinue reading “Women Running: A Feminist History”

How I Lowered My Cholesterol from 299 to 233–and How You Can, Too

In honor of National Cholesterol Awareness Month, let’s talk heart health. I found out I had high cholesterol at 12 and then, as a teen, watched both my grandparents fade from strokes and heart disease. If you don’t know your cholesterol levels, talk with your doctor to find out. If you want to lower them,Continue reading “How I Lowered My Cholesterol from 299 to 233–and How You Can, Too”

Create Nuanced Characters with a Writer’s Journal

When I was in my twenties, I wrote loads of crap. I say this with pride, not shame. Hey, I was learning. Still am. The key was that I wrote loads–and that I practiced until each piece became a tiny bit better than the last. But here was the contributing factor to the crap part:Continue reading “Create Nuanced Characters with a Writer’s Journal”

8 Ways to Beat the Block

Okay, I’ll come clean–I don’t believe in writer’s block. In my fifteen years as a writing tutor, I’ve worked with thousands of student writers, and in my experience, writer’s block is always a sign that one of two things is happening: You’re working on the wrong project. You’re working on the right project but withContinue reading “8 Ways to Beat the Block”

Five Great Lessons from Growing up Mormon

Anyone who knows me or reads my blog knows I’m a feminist and that I have some trouble with the doctrines and practices of the faith I was raised in. But I lived to tell the tale, and it’s a complex one. Despite the church’s uncomplicated position on feminism (Boyd K. Packer, who was recentlyContinue reading “Five Great Lessons from Growing up Mormon”

High Noon at the Vertigo Saloon

Step right up, folks! Step right up! Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to be dazzled! Prepare to be amazed! Those lucky few selected for this experiment will soon find the ground shifting beneath their feet. The very floor beneath you will bounce like a ship on choppy seas. Even when you sit perfectly still, the worldContinue reading “High Noon at the Vertigo Saloon”

Happiness Comes from the Shadows

Yesterday my coworkers and I were discussing Swedish thrillers and horror movies. “Yeah,” one of them said. “Sure, it’s one of the happiest places on earth. But what’s really behind all that happiness?” We each had our hypotheses. Mine was that alongside that highly developed happiness, there is also a highly developed id. But then,Continue reading “Happiness Comes from the Shadows”