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my blog

Breaking Silences

Over the past weeks, I’ve been writing about the importance of speaking and writing the truth. We might see this historic moment as a struggle between the truth and lies: is climate change real and worthy of our attention or is it a hoax? Does it matter if supreme court justices lie under oath? do we listen to the voices of women who are speaking the truth about abuse they suffered? is it programs like social security and medicare that bankrupt a country’s purse and moral […]

Five Questions to Help You Take Action

Why we need to take action (photo credit: By Cameron Strandberg from Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, Canada) I’ve been angry these past weeks. And under that anger is also fear and sadness. But instead of letting that stop me, I’m trying to let those feelings fuel me. In the Kavanaugh confirmation, we saw a blatant disrespect women’s voices and bodies and for truth itself. This week, a very alarming new report also came out about the state of our climate&mda […]

Taking Meaningful Action

I want to write a slightly different post today.I talk a lot about the power of our voices and the ways in which, when we are centered, we can take more meaningful action.One of the questions I often wonder about and find myself in conversation about is how our voice can be used to effect change. I believe that everything we say—and do—matters and has an impact. I believe that smiling at a child makes a difference, that writing a poem makes a difference.But today I want to wri […]

How Writing Makes You Healthier

Most of us remember daily diaries from when we were kids. If we were girls, our diaries may have had pretty pictures on the front and a little locket. But what was outside wasn’t really important. It was what was inside that mattered. Little did many of us know that our journals actually helped keep us healthy–not only emotionally and psychologically but also physically. James Pennebaker, a social scientist and researcher at the University of Texas, has done groundbreaking work […]

A Free Writing Resource For You

Many years ago, when I was writing my dissertation and struggling with the section I was working on, a friend reminded me that Thomas Mann once said, a writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than for other people. This quote helped me: it reminded me that writing doesn’t always flow naturally for writers; that if I was having a hard time, it didn’t mean that I wasn’t meant to be writing or wasn’t a “real writer.” When w […]

Ten Important Things to Look For in a Writing Class

Sometimes people ask me what to look for in a creative writing class, so I thought make a list of some of the most important qualities to look for and why. 1) attention to process/emotional support and attention to product/ craft2) supportive community3) good readers, and different kinds of readers in the class4) small class size for individualized attention5) flexible assignments, so that you can try new things and but also follow your own  process and projects6) […]

Tell Your Story in the Terms You Want

Many years ago, my therapist asked me, “do you see the glass half full or half empty?” I generally liked and respected and was helped by this therapist, but her question really bothered me.I went home and wrote a poem about that question—I imagined a mountain pass where two different girls walked. One girl walked over the pass unscathed, and the other girl stepped on a landmine. Would the correct question to ask those two girls be, do you see the world half full or half […]

Narratives of Healing

I’m delighted to publish a new essay, “The Single Most Powerful Tool for Healing: Tell the Right Stories,” on Tiny Buddha. As the title of the essay suggests, the essay is about the experience of healing from trauma and the importance of having good narratives for this work. It felt vulnerable to write this essay—and that vulnerability is what the piece itself is largely about. So often, we’re quiet about our challenges, cloaked in shame about the things that hur […]

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