Exposure Therapy

I was an exposure therapy skeptic. What I knew of exposure therapy came from abusers. More than one had justified their abuse by claiming it was helping me “face my fears” or “making me tougher.” This is nonsense. Such inhumane behavior will only make someone’s fear less manageable, even potentially debilitating. Research shows fear andContinue reading “Exposure Therapy”

Those 2020 Writing Goals: One Month Follow-Up

So five weeks ago, I made a deal with myself. Write when chronic illness allows me to, but shoot for three to four days a week. And on those three or four days each week, just do what I can. If I can only write for five minutes, then that’s five minutes of jotting downContinue reading “Those 2020 Writing Goals: One Month Follow-Up”

On Seeing My Father’s Face for the First Time in Nine Years

I can’t say for sure exactly why, but two days ago, I sat down at my computer, opened Google, and typed in my parents’ names. I was overcome with longing to find out what had ever happened to them. We haven’t spoken in nine years. I hadn’t felt the least bit curious before in allContinue reading “On Seeing My Father’s Face for the First Time in Nine Years”

Truth Will Out: Stop Silencing and Start Talking

When I was 25 years old, I opened a conversation with my parents about the past. Or tried to. I asked my parents some difficult questions. I wanted to hear their own experience of our family history. I wanted to rip off the blood-crusted bandages, so we could all begin to heal. My family had operatedContinue reading “Truth Will Out: Stop Silencing and Start Talking”

How Do You Find Your Courage?

I just started swimming lessons at the local public pool. The bleachers are dotted with parents thumbing through their phones, and the pool foams with children in orange and green swim caps. In perfect formation, they churn the lanes (“You got quite a boil going there,” one teacher calls to the most energetic swimmer. “You trying to cookContinue reading “How Do You Find Your Courage?”

12 Ways to Scare Yourself Silly in 2014

Eleanor Roosevelt once advised, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” I’ve always thought aiming for that daily was a bit much. Maybe once a week? But courage is a muscle, a skill. I’m not a brave person by nature. I’m timid and prefer my routines. And, like most people I’ve met, I have to train myself toContinue reading “12 Ways to Scare Yourself Silly in 2014”

Reblog Friday: Ash Beckham

Because sometimes we all need a little help speaking our truth–and honoring the many truths of others. This Friday my shout-out goes to Ash Beckham for helping us straight people better understand the courage of coming out through acknowledging our own hard conversations. And why we need to have them anyway.

Be of Good Courage

What’s the use of stories? One friend, a writer, argues that entertainment itself has value—to provide escape from our difficult lives and give us pleasure for a few hours. In a recent TED talk, novelist Elif Shafak encourages us to see stories as a way out of insular identities. Stories, she says, can “poke holes”Continue reading “Be of Good Courage”

What I Learned from Writing a Killer

Two weeks ago, Robert J. Ray—easily the best teacher I’ve had in any subject—told me to start writing my killer’s backstory in first person. No way, was my knee-jerk response. Hell no. Last week, Jack Remick told me the same thing. Goddamn it, boys. These two men, lifelong writers and teachers now in their seventies,Continue reading “What I Learned from Writing a Killer”

Getting Back Up Again

“Sometimes it is necessary / to reteach a thing its loveliness, / to put a hand on its brow / of the flower / and retell it in words and in touch / it is lovely.”  I love these lines from Galway Kinnell’s poem “St. Francis and the Sow.” They’re good to keep in your pocket. JustContinue reading “Getting Back Up Again”