The Day I Died

The person I was at 5:03 p.m. on Tuesday October 17, 1989 was not the same person at 5:05. That 5:03 girl was insecure, self-absorbed, and sad. She looked to others for validation and approval. She hated being alone but found making friends impossible. I guess you could say she died in the Loma Prieta earthquake, and that was in many ways a mercy. (5:03 girl did have magnificent hair, though): The only good thing about the day of  October 17, 1989 was that my long, lonely work hours at the Santa Cruz Ace Hardware downtown were broken up by making keys for…

True Lies: The Truth Behind The Ghost Daughter

I’ve been asked enough times lately if The Ghost Daughter is autobiographical to want to address the question before the official release of the novel on July 1. Yes, it is. No, it isn’t. The Ghost Daughter is a novel. A work of fiction. It’s a piece of imagination, woven together in an effort to make a pattern in a chaotic universe. But some of it really happened, though. If you’re interested, here is a short list of scenes in the novel drawn whole cloth from reality: 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake:  Del Rio Beach is a stand-in for Santa Cruz…

We Weren’t That Resilient

In response to the bell ringing that kids these days aren’t resilient the way their parents were growing up in the Wild West of the seventies and eighties suburban American neighborhoods and schools: I call bullshit. We weren’t that resilient. Those of us growing up in the seventies and eighties were not tilling Victory gardens and whittling useful things out of sticks that we found on the ground. I know. I was there. I can only speak to my own experience, and trigger warning, I’m not prone to nostalgia. Yes, we played outside with the neighborhood kids until the streetlights came on….

A Great Yes: Heyday Books

On a winter morning in 2007, I kept my eye out for Smilodons, Dire Wolves and Short Faced Bears. I’d been living in the Sacramento Valley for two years. It was where my husband was settled in as a professor at the university, where we’d bought a home, where my children were in school. I was on Highway 80 through a place that during the Ice Age so brimmed with flora and fauna, (including oversized predators) that experts in the history of the land call the ancient valley the Serengeti of North America. The Serengeti of North America boasted marshlands, teeming birds, Elk, vicious predators…

A Great Yes: Brackish Vol. 2

I sat on a shiny orange bedspread in one of the cheapest motels in Santa Cruz and sent a poetry submission to the publisher and editor whose opinion I cared about most in the world.  This wasn’t a piece sent with the armored professionalism  of most of my literary submissions. This was a flinging of my work at the feet of someone I deeply admired, and who just happened to be sitting on an identical faux-Southwestern style bedspread in the room on the other side of the wall. Evan Hartzell is a Los Angeles-based artist and musician who publishes the art and literary…

Notebooks

On the way to the gym this morning, I heard this story on NPR  in which Eric Weiner reported that Moleskine’s business is booming, and research shows that  all the cool kids write in notebooks now. I was fascinated but also horrified by this story. Listening to an interview with a guy who revealed that he wrote in notebooks like it was a new idea made me feel  sort of the way I did when the lady who wrote Freedom Writers came to town and everyone at the school where I worked got very excited about her revolutionary teaching technique of having her students write in journals.  My…

Brackish Vol. 2

I may be prouder to be included in this art and poetry magazine than I have ever been of anything I’ve ever done in words. These are some of the best artists and poets I have ever met. To be in their divine company is a true honor. Please click on the title to explore. brackish vol. 2 Click here to learn more about artist Evan Hartzell. Click here to learn more about artist Laura Alvarez.