Guest Post: A Moroccan Summer

In response to one of my posts earlier this month about my health and fitness, my former student Anna reached out to share her recent experience as an exchange student in Morocco. I was fascinated to read her story about the lack of freedom she experienced in day-to-day life as a woman in another country. I invited her to write a guest post to share her story with you. A Moroccan Summer For two months of summer 2016, I lived in Morocco. I was granted the opportunity to study abroad through the organization Project GO, a DOD scholarship program for ROTC…

Mansplaining and Me

Let’s get this off the table right now: Not all men and not all explanations from men. Some of my best friends are men; men with information, men whose explanations are helpful, entertaining, and wise. But this is a post about mansplaining nonetheless. My twelve-year-old daughter and I had a long talk today in the car about old men explaining things to us. She and I share an extremely low tolerance for mansplaining behavior, yet we love talking about it. It’s like passing a terrible roadkill. It’s awful. But damn. Too awful not to look. A few examples of times I…

Rerun: 7 Thoughts For Labor Day

My students’ daily homework assignment is usually to frolic in the clover. When I write frolic in the clover on the board where the homework assignment goes, new students want to know what I mean. Students:  Is that a book we are supposed to read? A website we’re supposed to look at? Me: No. Just find a patch of clover and frolic in it for a second. Students: What do you mean frolic? Me: Why does the forty-five year old lady have to tell the teenager how to frolic? Just find a patch of clover and do this (takes off shoes and…

Stranger Things and Honor Among Women

If you have not yet seen Stranger Things, stop reading right now. I’m about to spoil everything. I loved Stranger Things so much I watched the whole thing in one enraptured ten hour moment. Then I watched it again last week with my twelve-year-old daughter because I wanted to share it with her. There’s an awesome girl in it, I said. She saves the day, I said. I still love the show. The acting, the winks to the eighties, the music, Winona, those gorgeous children, the idiot Steve Harrington’s hairdo. What’s not to love? Well, there is no honor between…

Author Spotlight: Cait Spivey, author of From Under the Mountain

One of the books I’ve most enjoyed reading so far this year has been the epic fantasy adventure From Under the Mountain by Cait Spivey, released through Reuts Publications. The story is based in a mind-blowing, fantastic world meticulously built by Spivey as a young woman finds herself, after the death of her tyrannical royal family, at the head of an empire. The novel is sometimes reminiscent in the best possible way of Game of Thrones in its scope and intrigue. There is magic and intrigue and complex human relationships in a world where sexual orientation doesn’t raise eyebrows, but…

A Great Yes: Geminid Press

When I was in grade school, I took the short bus once a week to a special day class for gifted children. The program was called MGM for Mentally Gifted Minors, and our MGM teacher was an evangelical woman named Mrs. Sturtevant who really hated my ideas. My nine-year-old Mentally Gifted Minor brain intuited the deliciously thin ice Mrs. Sturtevant’s sense of the appropriate skated upon. I broke through it during our art unit when we fashioned paper mache masks to go with creative stories we had written. The other children gooped strips of newspaper and flour glue into the…

Fun with Archetypes: Guidance Cards

As a writer of fantasy, I love twisting my knowledge of mythology, folklore and ancient archetypes around to make something new. Fiction isn’t the only thing you can make using mythology as material. I invented a craft idea that every now and then I put together for a friend or group of friends using very personal mythologies and archetypes. It doesn’t cost very much, and it creates a fun guidance card game that’s sort of like your own private Tarot deck. Here is a picture of a pack of goddess archetype cards I made for a group of my friends. Ready…

Goddess University: Athena in the Workplace

Makeover stories are the best, especially during the Back-to-School season. Back-to-School has always been a high holy season for me. Seventeen magazine’s August issue was a kind of bible to me in the eighties. The message was that you could reinvent yourself from the inside out for the new school year. Everything was possible. Clean slates were a real and figurative thing. The movies Working Girl with Melanie Griffith and Sigourney Weaver and Legally Blonde with Reese Witherspoon and Selma Blair embody the rigorous hope that we can change reality through force of will. In both movies, intelligent women step…

Open Letter to Amanda Palmer

Amanda Palmer (Rock star, performance artist, author. I love her.) recently published an open letter in response to a fan’s anxiety about the effect that Amanda’s burgeoning motherhood will have on her art. The fan worried that Amanda Palmer’s renegade method of freely asking fans to fund her projects would just raise money for her kid now. The fan evoked vague examples of other female artists whose work became less “gritty” as a result of motherhood. See the original fan letter and Amanda Palmer’s gorgeous reply here. Amanda Palmer doesn’t know me. She has this handled. She doesn’t need my advice. Yet in our culture the…