The Bones are Strong

Last night I finished a personal essay. One thousand one hundred and ninety eight words, as it stands.  I had to drink a lot of whiskey.


I almost didn’t write it, but I was kindly bullied by a Twitter friend. She gave me a deadline. She encouraged me. She put me on the spot.

Like Lizzy Bennet, I never avoid challenges. I laugh in the face of danger. Until I cry.  Continue reading

Over the Cutting Board

  1. People ask me how old I was when I learned to cook, which is not the right question. At 29, I am still learning how to cook. The right question is when did I learn that cooking food for people gave me satisfaction. I was thirteen. Under the kind supervision of my grandfather I’d made a whole chicken for my family. And when my family leaned back from their plates, every one wiped clean, it was (and still is) a highlight of my life.

Continue reading

New Tricks

The thing about social media, about using it, is that people can respond to each other. That’s the whole point. But sometimes I forget that I’m speaking to other people and instead pretend I’m speaking to myself. I send statuses and tweets into the ether expecting nothing. For sure, this makes me feel better if no one “Likes” or “Favorites” or “Hearts” something I say or post. But also, it freaks me out when people actually do respond.

Last night I tweeted:


Nandini responded. Continue reading

A Year Out West

  • IMG_4244
    The Oregon coast is perfect

    A year ago last week, I wrote about lifting the couch and carrying it into our tiny new apartment in Portland, Oregon. I would’ve been completing this process in reverse, as we moved out of that apartment to a bigger one, which had been planned for months. But that didn’t happen. What sucks more than packing to move? Unpacking after not moving.

  • Since I’ve moved to Oregon, I’ve had three jobs: An insurance agent, an associate at Panera Bread & now an Adviser at a Call Center. Moving closer to my dream profession every day. (I do have some good stories though.)
  • It took me years and an MFA to call myself a Poet, but no time at all to stake a new claim in nonfiction. Poems were, for me, the most concentrated emotions and over time, I didn’t want to live in the head-space required to create them. When I write flash nonfiction I feel like the page is a meadow I have all to myself.

    When you meet a king in his palace all you can do is be humble and grateful
    When you meet a king in his palace all you can do is be humble and grateful
  • I stopped writing for my blog because I didn’t have anything interesting to share. I forgot about running my own race, about writing my own experiences. Luckily, I remembered.
  • With another writer, I created a workshop of five writers, all three genres represented. The first time I was workshopped since graduate school, it felt like coming home. There was criticism, but also joy over words I’d written, and the combination was life-affirming.

    Can we talk about this hair?
    Can we talk about this hair?
  • Relationships are work. Some days, I can’t imagine myself with anyone else but TJ and some days I think I’ll die alone amongst a pile of books and notebook paper.
  • Two months from turning thirty and I have never loved my body more than now. This lumpy, big-breasted shell has been the most consistent thing in my life, carrying me on size ten feet and sturdy thick thighs. I still drink too much, sleep too little and eat like I’m a freshman in college, but at least I know it.
  • A lot of the myths about Portland are true. My feelings about that change daily. But my love for beer is constant.
  • My 2007 Dodge Caliber is a few hundred miles from 100,000. Some of you will say — is that all? Together, we’ve seen a lot of road and hopefully, we’ll see a lot more.
  • A year ago, Mike Brown was killed by Darren Wilson. I will never forget watching the protests in Ferguson and wondering if I was witnessing a turning point. I still don’t know. But I do know that #BlackLivesMatter
  • Book suggestions? Okay! Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, Citizen by Claudia Rankine, The Martian by Andy Weir, One Plus One by Jojo Moyes, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, and Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
  • If you’ve read this far, I have a request: hassle me about writing. Ask me if I’ve written recently. My creativity responds to well-meaning inquiries from friends.


Victims of Charleston

Sometimes it feels as if the universe is working against me, like in those moments when all I want is get to home, but I hit every single red light. And sometimes, the universe doles out small doses of relief like today when I just happened to have the day off, right when I thought I was going to completely lose my shit. Two nights ago I was lying in bed reading my Twitter timeline as the news broke about the attack on the Emanuel AME church. In a way it was like watching the tide pull away from the shoreline, knowing the wave was coming, but being unable to escape. The BBC broke the story first. And fifteen minutes a tweet from CNN. Within an hour it was the only thing Black Twitter was talking about, and then all that Twitter was tweeting about.  Continue reading

In the Company of Women

A week ago I spent three days in the exclusive company of women. We were celebrating the dwindling bachelorette status of my good friend, Leyna, in the oddly German town of Leavenworth, Washington. I went into the weekend with unconfronted nerves — I mean a houseful of women, most of whom I didn’t know, for three days, sounded like the opening of horror story.

IMG_4054 Continue reading