Water Is Life — Dreaming toward Standing Rock 1

Water is life. Several folks responded to a recent Facebook Post of mine, expressing a desire to support me in going to Standing Rock. So I’m taking a “leap of faith” and heading west. But I’m going to need your help. See the “How to Donate” at the bottom of this post! And also HERE. I hope to spend 2-3 weeks living in the Sacred Stone camp (near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation), among the people whose heritage I share, representing all of you who stand with them through me. As Stone Camp founder LaDonna Allard said, “We stand with prayer. When […]

Ah, Beauty! 1

The Beloved Community: Here and Now Last night a group of us were gathered at the Antioch Institute discussing the Beloved Community. Our goal was to think about how and where we see the Beloved Community here and now. So, we posed the questions, “What are some of the key characteristics of Beloved Community? What are some visible signs that we are in the presence of Beloved Community?” The group led itself in an energetic conversation, reaching into their own this-life experience: “It’s humanity.” “When someone says, ‘I see you.’” “There’s Hope in the Beloved Community.” “Equity.” And on and […]

Playdates with Scripture

I’m in a group online that talks a lot about making “things.” Members of the group crochet and knit, paint, create delicate paper sculptures, do performance art, draw cartoons, play the kazoo, make beautiful postcards and send them out to strangers, create astonishing costumes for themselves … All kinds of things. It’s wonderful to see the imagination alive. I like to make things, too. I’ve had a macrame phase (years and years ago), needlework, a make-a-meditation-fountain period, a long obsession with strawbale and cob houses that never got built. My fiction-writing comes out of this drive to “make a thing.” These […]

“Judy Blume” — It’s Why I Write 2

It’s a question writers often ask, especially when we’re struggling to become a writer, when we don’t know if we are a “real” writer, when we’re trying to figure out all alone with ourselves (which is how writing pretty much always happens) what kind of writer we want to be. You know those books you buy, about writing? Those encouraging, freeing, lift-you-up kind of books for all those embryonic writers out there — they often start with the question: Why do you want to write? Fame? Fortune? Any realist tosses those two off the table pretty fast. Besides, it’s not […]

Odd Ducks & the North Pole 2

At the beginning of every residency during my MFA at Spalding University, the Director of the program, Sena Jeter Naslund, would welcome us home and remind us that “we are all odd ducks here.” To me, Sena’s greeting always felt like the perfect “Welcome Home” speech. We weren’t un-odd, or de-oddified, there at the residency. I can attest that we were each and every one odd. We didn’t become in-liers rather than outliers, nor did we fit in with one another like a magic puzzle. We were odd ducks, together. A brace of odd ducks. Those of us who are “unconventional” […]

The Story-Teller

I am a teller of familiar tales.  I sit upon this jagged rock, high above the ancient story.  Who am I? The old virile man trudged up the mount, each step a sacrifice belaboured with a trust miscarried.  Time to time he laid his hand against the knife buckled to his side, each brush of fingers against the hilt, unwanted test of faith.  Anger at this fierce request.  Those year-torn promises, stars and sand, denied in this.  Each trudging step a heavy plod into the dark necessity of life.  A life, unmolded to desire, compressed instead to duty’s call.  Each […]