Men Interrupt Me

I came home from the gym earlier today than I’d planned. I love going to the gym for long workouts on the weekend, overdoing it, and exercising to exhaustion. It’s fun for me. Don’t judge. But today I was interrupted so often by a man who motioned for me to remove my headphones so he could tell me his theories on education that I just got a different kind of exhausted and left. The best thing I ever did as a mother is to teach my daughters to block intrusive men. I almost wrote “to be rude to intrusive men”…

Scoundrel Time

Authors Karen Bender and Paula Whyman are fiction editors of a cool literary magazine called Scoundrel Time. I’m really proud to say they were kind enough to work with me on my story Say His Name. When you read it you’ll know who was in my heart while I wrote it. Still waiting for some justice, by the way. Check out Scoundrel Time here.   

Books I’ve Read in 2018

I meant to read fifty books this year but I only made it to forty-six whole ones. I don’t finish books I don’t enjoy, and except for one by a dead author that I had to read for work, I enjoyed every single one on this list in varying degrees enough to not throw across the room. (Just kidding I would never throw a book except that I have thrown a book and I will throw a book again if one makes me mad enough.) Back to my 2018 reading, listed here in the order in which I read them….

Twenty Nine Years After

Twenty-nine years ago the Loma Prieta earthquake happened at 5:04 and changed my life forever after. The Loma Prieta earthquake and the fifteen seconds I spent cowering under a big oak desk while the ceiling came down in the hundred year old building I was working in changed how I viewed every other second that came after. The Loma Prieta earthquake and the two kind people (one who was someone’s love, one who was someone’s dad) who died on the other side of the wall during those fifteen seconds changed the way I treated every other person I met after….

I Am Ultra Conservative

This morning at a stoplight I got caught behind a white truck with two stickers on the back window: T****. Make America Great Again. CONSERVATIVE. BECAUSE NOT EVERYONE CAN BE A FREELOADER. These stickers side by side were such an oxymoron, emphasis on moron, that I decided that I’m taking the word conservative back from the conservatives. I am so conservative, I am Ultra Conservative. My students know never to begin an essay with a dictionary definition in my class, but school is out for the summer so here are some meanings of my new favorite word “conservative”: holding to…

Divided We Stand

My daughter and I were in the Barnes and Noble last night buying surfing girl magazines before our movie. By the register a white woman kind of strolled around, talking to her friend in a loud voice all about how illegal immigrants losing their kids at the border get what they deserve when they break the law. “Let’s get away from that Trump supporter so I don’t have to listen to that bullshit.” (That was me. Loud voice.) I have no illusions I changed her mind. She was pretty secure in her fascist point of view. Many of my fellow…

Stephon Clark Is Our Son

I’ve lost the love of friends and family members because of my stand on racial justice in this country. Black lives matter. How controversial this simple concept seems to be to so many White people. Today is Good Friday. Two days before Easter. As a Catholic woman I am celebrating the most meaningful holiday season in my Liturgical calendar. In the Gospel of John 13:34, Christ gives the toughest order of all time: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” Our Brother knew…

I Fear For My Safety

The police who cornered Stephon Clark in his grandparents’ backyard and shot him down say they “feared for their safety.” They thought he had a gun. He had a cell phone. I was at the protest the other day in Sacramento. We circled the park across City Hall. We marched through the streets, climbed onto the freeway and blocked traffic, stormed the arena where we blocked the entrance for people coming to the Kings game. Stephon Clark was a student at Sac High when I taught there. I knew him. Does that matter? I wonder. I wonder about what matters…

The #WalkUp Myth

I was such a misfit in junior high that I wondered if I existed. Nobody hit me at school, but rather I was invisible. On a seventh grade ski trip, I was lost for hours and literally nobody noticed. I could have died buried in a snowdrift and I wouldn’t have been missed until my parents noticed me not coming off the bus at the end of the week. You’re never going to hear from me that the pain of not belonging doesn’t have long-term consequences on a person. Part of why I became a teacher was to seek redemption…