Passing Normal: When Your Mother Has Autism

I inherited an odd brain. When the winter sun hits the three o’clock slant and stares me straight in the face, I feel like my eye sockets are blistering–even with my eyelids squeezed shut. The wrong colors set my teeth on edge. Dusky reds and velvet purples soothe me. But whites, blues, yellows, and evenContinue reading “Passing Normal: When Your Mother Has Autism”

Toastmasters Speech #3: The Challenges and Rewards of Teaching ESL

ESL stands for English as a Second Language, an academic discipline that aims to prepare students for a lifetime of effective communication in English. The field also goes by EFL (English as a Foreign Language), ELL (English Language Learning), and a whole barrage of other acronyms. It’s a large field with crucial importance. As ofContinue reading “Toastmasters Speech #3: The Challenges and Rewards of Teaching ESL”

The Wiffle Bat

“You remember the time I tried to kill you?” My brother asks, “Which one?” “The one in the backyard with the wiffle bat.” He doesn’t remember that particular attempt. He says, “We both did a lot of things we regret.” “Yeah.” But what is regret? The recognition that something could have been different—but wasn’t? HowContinue reading “The Wiffle Bat”

Saying Goodbye

One hour ago I packed up my housemate and leaned through the driver’s open window to tease her. Then, I stepped back. She spooled up her iPod, and her stereo’s bass thumped. We grinned. We had crammed her windows with socks and running shoes and an old clock, the folded flag from her father’s funeral. All the detritusContinue reading “Saying Goodbye”

The Meaning Plot

The hardest part after the holidays is seeing off the family and friends I love best. Saturday night on Seattle’s light rail line, it was far too quiet with my brother boarding his flight to DC. So I got to thinking. What does it mean to live in the modern world? What does it mean to liveContinue reading “The Meaning Plot”

Passing Your Edge

So I don’t know about all you other writers and creative-types out there, but one question I can’t seem to answer is this: How do you know when to push past your edge–and when to accept this edge as part of who you are? After twenty years of shame and frustration over my introversion, I’ve finally made peace withContinue reading “Passing Your Edge”

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.

The Communities We Come By

Back when my brother and I were living in our first apartment, and I was 24, I went through this three-year obsession with self-help books. I read up on style, relationships, making friends, nutrition, career planning. One book recommended asking someone a series of questions about me. I was supposed to choose someone who knewContinue reading “The Communities We Come By”

The Middle of Nowhere

“But what happens if you leave?” I was 21 years old and having a hypothetical discussion with my anthropology professor. He knew I was Mormon. Knew I had a complex relationship to my faith. And though we were talking about community in a general sense, he knew I was thinking of leaving it. He shrugged.Continue reading “The Middle of Nowhere”

Identity and Performance

I just finished reading Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra, and few characters in all the literature I’ve read so fascinate me–and yet remain so remote. Cleopatra’s “infinite variety” is difficult to imagine. I can think of no woman I have ever known who resembles her. One moment playful, the next violent and wrathful, queenly,Continue reading “Identity and Performance”