What I Learned This Semester: In Praise of Slowness

I entered the first fiction seminar of my Accessible MFA convinced that I will never have a writing career. Five years ago, chronic illness had already destroyed one career. I was in my final year of my master’s program when I became sick. I lost jobs. I lost touch with mentors. I could no longerContinue reading “What I Learned This Semester: In Praise of Slowness”

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”

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”

There Is No Normal to Go Back To

I’m happy for friends and family who, as they get vaccinated, look forward to resuming travel, family visits, and hikes with friends. The vaccine is great news not only for its potential to dramatically reduce further deaths but also for everyone who has found themselves at their wit’s end over the past year. But theContinue reading “There Is No Normal to Go Back To”

Three Literary Journals I’m Reading Right Now

One of my Accessible MFA assignments this semester is to read more literary journals. It’s a no-brainer: If you want to publish, you should read outlets where you’d like to see your work printed. But it’s also something I’ve just never got around to. Mainly because there are just SO. MANY. GODDAMN. LITERARY. JOURNALS. IContinue reading “Three Literary Journals I’m Reading Right Now”

Nine Signs You Have a Bad Doctor: What I Wish I’d Known

As my husband and I learned this February, having a bad doctor can be deadly. First, before we get in too deep, I just want to acknowledge that no doctor is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes, and tragically, even a mistake made in good faith, with the best medical practice, can still result in death. SomeContinue reading “Nine Signs You Have a Bad Doctor: What I Wish I’d Known”

Writing the Impact Statement

Pine needles drop from branches out my window. First, they grow brittle, fading from green to ochre. Then, all it takes is a breeze, and they let go. They swirl up into the air and settle into gutters. They pepper the shingles with orange. I used to think the only way to heal from theContinue reading “Writing the Impact Statement”

7 Tips When Your Friend Has a Chronic Illness

Maybe this sounds like it should be common sense. People should just know, you say. But what if people weren’t raised well? Like me. What if they’re kind of feral and can be thoughtless and ill-mannered socially? Also me. Or what if someone is only beginning to examine their own ableism and would like to moveContinue reading “7 Tips When Your Friend Has a Chronic Illness”