The Long Ride Home

Maybe it is because I’m a high school teacher and spend my days surrounded by actual young adults that my standards for YA literature are so high. My favorite books for readers in their teens are full of characters facing real life problems with no clear solutions. The dialogue needs to sound like something an actual kid would say, or else I’m gone. No messages, please. No lessons to learn that could also be imparted in a thirty minute sitcom. No morals to the story allowed. Ever. If I’m going to recommend a book to anyone to read it has…

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…

Why I Love Mother’s Day

My parents didn’t celebrate Mother’s Day, or Father’s Day either. Hallmark holidays, they scoffed when I brought home construction paper cards and tissue paper flowers from school. They were good parents with no patience for false sentiment. My husband is the youngest of seven children in a family that did celebrate Mother’s Day. It would make him happy, he said, if we did too. I draw upon my late mother-in-law for inspiration on how to behave on the occasion. We visited her house on the second Sunday in May in the last years of her life, sharing potluck suppers with our enormous family. When I sat…