Writer, Educator, Advocate
I am a Portland, Oregon-based fiction writer whose stories and essays have appeared in Literal Latte, Nervy Girl, Stringtown, Storyglossia and Columbia Gorge Magazine. Recently, I’ve had stories shortlisted for The Masters Review Volume V Anthology and for the Fish Publishing Flash Fiction Prize. After five years of work and revision, I am putting the final touches on my first novel, By Accident.
For over two decades, I've worked as an instructor and creative writing teacher in literacy programs, community colleges, and k-12 schools as a writer-in-residence to a diverse range of students. From rural, remote locations to bustling, urban classrooms—I’ve taught at-risk students who are on their “last chance” to curious senior citizens actively observing the world around them.
I am an advocate for other artists and writers and the cultural conversation we engage in to heal, inspire, and ignite those around us through my work on the Advisory Council for Portland Arts & Lectures' Writers in the Schools program, on the National Advisory Council for Graywolf Press, and the board of the Sitka Center for Art & Ecology, a workshop and residency program on the Oregon coast.
Remaining active within my community is the counterbalance to the solitary nature of the writing life. I continue to be influenced by my fellow artists along with the natural beauty of place I live.
My childhood home bordered acres of open farmland on the outskirts of Eugene, Oregon. My first paying job, at age nine, was picking strawberries in the nearby fields. Over the years, I’ve traveled and explored—earning an AB at Duke University and an MFA at Antioch Los Angeles, living abroad and working in Seattle—but I always return. And each time, an opportunity to better understand myself and my own capabilities unfolds. In the Columbia Gorge, my husband and I started an organic farm. In the years we spent there, we raised food, flowers, and children. Today, we live in Portland, where I write and teach.
I continue to have ties to the people and farmland of the Gorge, the memories and classmates in Eugene, as well as the family and energy of the Oregon Coast. I regularly retreat to the coast. I’m drawn to the tumultuous water, the moodiness of the Pacific Ocean, the rough edges of our country’s western coastline.
The Writing Practice: Craft, Comfort & Curse
To be a writer, you need to write. Simple, yet sometimes sitting down to do the work is the hardest part. We often feel distracted, self-critical, or paralyzed. Through my teaching I've discovered how students often crave structure, inspiration, permission, and validation. Committing to an artistic journey requires diligence and trust. While as a teacher, I've been able to facilitate and honor the work around me, turning this own gentle attention to my own work has remained a challenge for me. This is how my most recent project, The Sabotage Journal, has come into being.
Prompted & Time to Write
Over the years, I have taught classes on short story and flash fiction writing, novel workshops, and creative writing courses. My favorite part of teaching is creating a supportive and constructive space which allows each person to explore their own voice, discover new ideas and be inspired. "Time to Write" and "Prompted" have become a couple of my most appreciated classes. While I am taking a hiatus from teaching those classes, I still post monthly writing prompts on the Time to Write Facebook page. Join my mailing list below if you'd like to be informed of my upcoming classes, readings or creative opportunities.