Body Count

Saturday, May 2, 2020 - 15:29

Map of Deaths

Inspired by the article in the New Yorker (5/1/2020) by Kim Stanley Robinson below.

There are many things I agree with here! "To survive the next century, we need to start valuing the planet more, too, since it’s our only home."

The pressure to revert to the old values is immense. I live in the South which has been stuck for better or worse in the past for all of my lifetime. We memorized all the Civil War battles in 6th grade. This made those events seem like just yesterday to us as…

Alabama Noir - An Interview with Don Noble

Thursday, April 16, 2020 - 13:19

Alabama Noir

See my interview with Don Noble at Southern Review of Books



The Shit

Monday, April 6, 2020 - 12:00


          For the past four years, I have spoken to college freshmen about resilience. I shared my experiences and spoken with them about their experiences, which often shocked me with their raw pain. They had stories of overcoming cancer, abuse, death of a parent, addiction, suicide attempts, and things that made me blink away tears as I read them or heard them tell their tale. I hope the things I said helped.

In other positions as an educator…

Self Isolation

Monday, March 23, 2020 - 13:30

Spring flower

All the news is about self-isolation and fear. We are living in a time of plague, the coronavirus, COVID-19. If I had to choose again, I would choose more times of deliberate isolation. Times that kept me sane and creative. Alone, I felt the world as it was in truth, not what everyone is telling me. The world is full of colors and small joys, like a bowl of oatmeal with butter and blueberries. Alone I never lack occupation. Even when I do sleep there are…

Purchasing Family

Sunday, March 1, 2020 - 14:28

Gordon Rise and Fall

If a man in 1870 did a Rip Van Winkle, fell asleep for seventy years, and then woke up in 1940 he would be in an alien world. If the same man went to sleep in 1770 and woke up in 1840, most things would be recognizable. The man waking up in 1940 would see cars, washing machines and telephones. The man waking up in 1840 would see wood stoves, washing tubs, and postal service; all similar to 1770 culture.

I listened to a Planet Money podcast episode about Robert J. Gordon, an economist, and his…

Anxiety, Grief and Other Invisible Illnesses in YA Fiction

Tuesday, February 25, 2020 - 12:22

So proud to be part of the debut of the Southern Review of Books! See my review of a great new young adult book by a local author.

Honeydew Bridge

Sunday, February 16, 2020 - 11:56

Honeydew Bridge

When I turned fifty, I had recovered from busting my ACL on the ski mountain. My horse was sold. My son was off to school. I was not yet a principal at my school. Deep in my gut was a burning irritation with life that I could not soothe. I needed something to throw myself against. My husband had a 1983 Honda Magna that we would ride on the highways in the Eastern Sierra mountains. Even if I was on the back it made me smile.

One day he stopped on the way to Mammoth and told me to get off. I had…

Do You See Me Now? A Book Review.

Saturday, February 1, 2020 - 14:41

Choi, Susan. Trust Exercise. Henry Holt, 2019.

Defined by the author as an exercise in dreaming, this winner of the National Book Award, to call this work a novel seems deceptive. That’s what Choi is – deceptive. Posing as love stories so well that the Library of Congress catalogs this work as such, the three sections of this work, the Trust Exercises, require the reader’s trust and their perception beyond the engaging tales Choi offers. Choi requires us to feel the cost of trust betrayed.…

Book 10 of Books That Blew Me Away

Tuesday, June 5, 2018 - 18:30

High Tide in Tuscon book

High Tide in Tucson: Essays from Now or Never by Barbara Kingsolver

This has been on my shelf for more years than I care to say. It was published in 1995. I return to it again and again because of the beauty of the language and the vision into the life of a writer traveling the world. And yet one of the most tender stories tells about my two favorite subjects – motorcycles and librarians.  Set in her high school in Kentucky, Kingsolver tells of her intellectual and moral coming of age reading…

Book 9 of Books that Blew Me Away

Thursday, May 24, 2018 - 08:38

Bastard Out of Carolina book

Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison

There are many reasons we enjoy reading. Sometimes I read because it strips my illusions away. My eyes are cleaned and I see the world anew. This is the story of Bone, a girl stained by the label of “bastard” on her birth certificate. In the midst of the poverty, abuse, and violence, her mother focuses her shame on this label. Bone is raped and beaten by her mother’s boyfriend. Raylene, Bone’s aunt, takes her to raise. As Bone is recovering, her mother…