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Showing posts from 2018

The Grant Year

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One year ago I learned the great state of Minnesota was trusting me with an Artist Initiative Grant in support of my writing. This vote of confidence from strangers gave me a specific kind of momentum, and in these past twelve months I’ve published essays in great places ('This Is My Oldest Story" in Creative Nonfiction's True Story #15; "To Be Held" in Sweet; "Look At It Like This" in Up North Lit; & "Clean Lines" in Ninth Letter), was a finalist in a nonfiction contest (Curt Johnson Prose Award), received two nominations each for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize (thanks, Sweet, UPL, and Creative Nonfiction!), taught an adult writing class through Minnetonka Community Ed (which I'll be offering again through the Plymouth Library system in late winter), and folks, I’ve gone and written a manuscript. I’ve barely touched its pages since school began in August, but something shifted over this last month, and the story is insisting …

This is How I Know I Love You

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Of course, there are many ways: the way my whole body splits into joy when you throw your arms around my neck. The way the sound of you singing splits the parts of me that have already been split into finer and more radiant halves. I look for me in your face: I see my mother, a photo of her as a young girl in a frilly white dress. Every day I run my fingers through your hair, which is my hair on you, and I feel gratitude, that we can be dark and braided together, curls springing up at our temples and the base of our necks when the air is thick. I look at you in the almost dark, of course, and I can't believe how beautiful you are, that you are mine.

It is an obvious love, mother love. I've written so little about it this second time, with you, my second child, because it feels as natural as waking.
But tonight, you and your brother sleeping, I padded through the dimly lit kitchen searching for a snack. There in the fruit bowl was one perfect peach, pink and gold, just a littl…

"This is My Oldest Story" in Creative Nonfiction's True Story

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I'm happy to share that my essay "This Is My Oldest Story" has been published by Creative Nonfiction's True Story.

The title doesn't say it all, but it says a lot. With these words, I finally found a way to write about something I've been trying to process since I was eight: the abduction and decades-long disappearance of Jacob Wetterling, a neighbor boy from my hometown. Even though--as I discuss in the essay--I still have reservations regarding writing about Jacob publicly, I had another conversation with another stranger just yesterday that echoed much of what I explore in this piece: how for Minnesotans, there was "a time before Jacob Wetterling's kidnapping and a time after it," how the entire region was affected by this boy's loss.

Sitting with these memories now still reduces me to fear and anger and heart ache. Which is why I wrote about them. Which is why I think we all do better when we leave the solitary shadows. By telling storie…