I’m just coming down from a “work weekend” retreat with the fabulous Laura Davis, three full days of quiet, uninterrupted writing. The setting was a beautiful mountaintop home with windows that framed forest, mist, and sky. It’s the kind of view that muffles the chaos in my head and gives me space to dream about my next book. [Read more]
Have you ever noticed music’s ability to transport you to another time or transform your behavior altogether? This happens to me all the time. I use music to mine for stories, to jog memories while working with hospice patients, and to lift the mood after a crummy day or when cleaning the house. [Read more]
It’s funny how lost I felt when I finished writing Boot Language. I missed conjuring up the landscape of my past each morning: the scent of red earth and towering Ponderosa pines of the Sierras; the warmth of horse sweat as I removed Oakie’s saddle and blanket after a ride; my parents’ voices in my head as I sat down to type. [Read more]
My 16-year-old daughter Elizabeth stood in the open front door, red-faced and silent. She had just returned from a sleepover at a friend’s house, and was hiding her hair with her hoodie.
“You okay, honey?” With two teenagers at home, that question was always on my lips. [Read more]
There are things I never had an opportunity to say to Dad before he died. From my shock of discovering that he was at the attack of Pearl Harbor, to our mutual love of the rugged Sierra Nevadas, what I am unable to ask, haunts me. These are the rocks that sit in my stomach, sharp and unforgiving, day after day. So I write. [Read more]
Standing in my classroom making last-minute preparations, I could hear the buzz of excitement in the hallway. It was Teacher Day - and all the children had been “secretly” asked to surprise their teacher with a blossom from their garden. The school bell electrified their movements as they scurried into line outside their classrooms. I thought of last year’s flowers and grabbed two vases from the cabinet. [Read more]