Clinical Trial #15: Day 7

Nobody tells you that having a chronic illness is like taking on a part-time job. The first provider who typed “chronic” into my chart didn’t warn me I’d become a one-woman drug trial for years. Hey, I get it. Everyone fixated on me getting better. The possibility that might not happen was never mentioned, andContinue reading “Clinical Trial #15: Day 7”

Writing Residency 2021: 5 Things I Learned

That was one hell of a week! I learned a few things. Number one? Do not pack an entire week with only publishing, querying, and marketing workshops. Ever. If I loved business this much, I’d just go be an entrepreneur. Still, it was useful to dig deeper into the entrepreneurial aspects of a writing career.Continue reading “Writing Residency 2021: 5 Things I Learned”

The Writing Residency Without the Residency

Life is in chaos, medical bills keep rolling in, we’re moving within six months, and who knows what’s happening with this 100-degree heatwave hitting Seattle. But one thing I’m sure of? My annual homeschool MFA writing residency. Most low-residency MFA programs require at least two residencies for a cumulative total of 20 to 30 days.Continue reading “The Writing Residency Without the Residency”

When Death Comes

Death is a strange thing the first time we encounter it. Of course there had been distant relatives, a great-grandmother, someone’s elderly uncle. And the pets that had preceded me in my parents’ lives and towards which, as a small child, I had always felt a vague competition. But when I was nine or tenContinue reading “When Death Comes”

My American Dream Dies Here

It was a good dream. In this dream, I owned a small, modest house in a quiet town. I sat beneath a tree and sipped hot cocoa under the stars. I worked hard as a teacher and served my students well. I paid my bills on time. I helped my neighbors. I pulled on rainContinue reading “My American Dream Dies Here”

Ableism and Classism Underlie the MFA Model

Every few years, a white man in the mainstream literary community publishes a curmudgeonly piece about how entitled, lazy, and whiny creative writing students can be. They often point to these qualities as the only things that hold back writers, aside from another likely possibility: a lack of talent. Recently, I came across just suchContinue reading “Ableism and Classism Underlie the MFA Model”

Three Literary Journals to Try If You’re New to the Neighborhood

Nineteen years ago, I served as literary editor for my college’s literary journal. It was a fun, demanding job that gave me a deep appreciation for the slush pile. For those new to this, a slush pile is a stack of writing that nobody asked you to send. But you sent it anyway. And backContinue reading “Three Literary Journals to Try If You’re New to the Neighborhood”

Fiction Seminar Textbooks: Part 1

It’s been a whirlwind of a semester. I had six textbooks, so today I’m going to share my thoughts on the first three. These are from the Art of series by Graywolf Press, edited by Charles Baxter roughly 14 years ago. Since an MFA student first recommended The Art of Subtext to me, I’ve beenContinue reading “Fiction Seminar Textbooks: Part 1”

Healing Trauma Through, Well, Clothes

Sometimes you’ve known something all along but just didn’t understand it. I’ve always told myself I hate clothes. I dress from a place of frustration and even resentment. I hate shopping for clothes. I hate trying on clothes. I hate buying clothes. I hate wearing clothes. And because my body has so often felt unsafeContinue reading “Healing Trauma Through, Well, Clothes”

Three Elite Literary Journals for Your Bucket List

Before you get all hopeless about breaking into literary journals, let’s do a reality check. If you’re getting nothing but rejections, it might not be you. Well, I mean, it definitely is you. Literary journals aren’t responsible for breaking down our doors (or failing to do so) when they sense we’ve just hit “save” onContinue reading “Three Elite Literary Journals for Your Bucket List”