Losing Faith

For me, the loss of my faith was much like gaining it. Something outside my control, like a storm blowing in. And this frightened me when it happened. Growing up Mormon, I had been taught that faith is a virtue. And virtues, by definition, can be chosen. Cultivated. Integrity, loyalty, honesty, charity. But faith, it turnsContinue reading “Losing Faith”

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”

The Wisdom of Humility

Today an Iranian friend called me humble. Coming from her, it was a profound compliment. It warmed my soul. But is it true? What is humility anyway? And why do some cultures value it and others, like mine, scoff at it? All I can do is put in my two cents. And here’s what IContinue reading “The Wisdom of Humility”

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 Wound That Heals

What is the value of standing witness? Atrocity and inhumanity and evil–is there a moral imperative to record it? Today I picked up a book in the library titled, The Healing Wound by Gitta Sereny. She writes of Nazi Germany and genocide with first-hand experience, but all I could think of was that title: theContinue reading “The Wound That Heals”

Revenge and Justice

It seems I write mostly about revenge. All my characters are exacting some kind of revenge. Or think they are. Yet I feel ambivalent about it. Is revenge justice? It can feel that way. But it’s a retributive justice. A justice that retaliates. And it always seems to cost something. Mattie, in True Grit, losesContinue reading “Revenge and Justice”

The Hardest Kind of Honesty

I tell lies. Whole packs of them. Mostly to myself, but I don’t think that in the least softens the crime. Because once I start to believe them, they get passed off on other people as truths. And then it just gets worse from there. But I don’t count fiction among my lies. Fiction, you’llContinue reading “The Hardest Kind of Honesty”

On Death and Defiance

A few years back I attended a reading by Carolyn Jessop who had escaped a fundamentalist Mormon community. Piled her children in a van in the middle of the night and made a run for it. She’d written her memoir, published as Escape (2008), and now was reading at Third Place Books. She had receivedContinue reading “On Death and Defiance”

Extreme Sport: Facing Your Fears

So I’ve been on a writing retreat with my novel the last few days and am glad to get back to blogging! And from the quiet space of that retreat, I return to say yet again: one of the most terrifying things about the artistic process is its vulnerability. If you’ve ever seen The King’s Speech,Continue reading “Extreme Sport: Facing Your Fears”