Yolo

For Homecoming Prayer Service 2017 There’s a saying, I know you’ve heard it. YOLO. You Only Live Once. Let me tell you something about YOLO. YOLO is a lie. You don’t only live once. You live every time you wake up in the morning. You live a new day 365 times a year, if you’re lucky, every day a new chance for a new beginning, a new way to think of others before yourself, and a new way to be kind. A new way to live the spirit of Jesus Christ, and be a source of God’s love to others….

The Ghost Daughter 

My housemate from college, Laura Alvarez, is an important artist and she and her husband will always be in the acknowledgements of every book I ever write because their approach to life and art is an astonishment that never ceases to inspire me. I swear sometimes I don’t know if I’d even be a writer today if it weren’t for their encouragement. Well, Laura loved my novel The Ghost Daughter, and really got what I was trying to do there which is an amazing feeling that truly hardly ever happens. She wrote about it on her amazing fashion, art, and inspiration…

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…

What I Was Thinking When I Wrote The Ghost Daughter

A few years ago I stood in the check out line at the grocery story, Casey Anthony staring at me from the cover of the People magazine. I don’t follow crime stories usually, but this one followed me. I couldn’t help it. I was fascinated.  A young woman claimed her little kid went missing a full month after anyone had seen her. The authorities found the thoroughly decomposed body of the child months later in a pile of duct tape. The prosecution was inadequate to the task of conviction and the judge let her go. Everyone thinks she did it. But…

Change the Story

We tell ourselves limiting stories that contain no truth. What follows is a pictorial example of exactly what I am talking about. Inner story at the time: “I’m fat. I mean, really, really fat. I have to stop eating for a year or no one will ever love me. The reason why I am alone and a loser is because I am fat and ugly.” Dang, this was Halloween 1988 (hence the glorious fake tattoo). I was eighteen years old, and so careful about my diet and exercise. I was a swimmer and a dancer. I was a sophomore at UC Santa…

One to Watch: Gabriel Pulido

Gabriel wasn’t supposed to be in my junior year American Literature class.  He had been in another class for an entire semester, but he heard from my students that I was “hard.”  I gave tons of writing assignments.  My students told him I was nice, but I “did too much.” I made students work. So Gabriel parked himself in front of the counselor’s office until they changed his schedule. Changing the schedule because you might like another teacher better was not allowed. You can’t really run a high school that way. Students can be fickle.   Gabriel wasn’t fickle. He…

Santa Cruz Is the Jerusalem of My Life

My oldest daughter goes to the same college I did, UC Santa Cruz. We dropped her off today for her second year of school. We helped her move her stuff into her new rental before walking to lunch downtown. She is very pragmatic and well-adjusted and surrounded by nice friends. This post has nothing to do with her and all to do with the effect visiting Santa Cruz has on me every time I go there. Santa Cruz is a place out of space and time. It was a beautiful, strange, horrible, wonderful place to decide what kind of person…