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Writing Life

When Sometimes I Wish It Was Still Just Us

I'm holding on to the ground with both feet lately, y'all. I could use opposable toes. The issues are multiple. Prime among them is just that School's Out feeling of the summer, probably. My head isn't on straight. Also, my children are maniacs. Side note: Do any of you have children who are maniacs? Really? If so…and I admit I kind of doubt your testimony already...what are they doing while you look at the computer right now? Because as it turns out if I look at the computer for more than five minutes in the month of June, my woods-trained wild [...]

By |June 9th, 2014|Writing Life|17 Comments

“Keep the channel open…” Martha Graham quote

I share/gift/email/tweet this quote more than any other quote. More than Mary Oliver. More than Wendell Berry. This is what I find myself wanting to tell my friends (and my enemies) over and over and over again. Listen, please. One great dancer to another. Martha Graham to Agnes DeMille. As quoted in de Mille's autobiography Dance to the Piper. “There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action,
and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. 
And if you block it, it will never exist through any other [...]

By |February 21st, 2014|Writing Life|5 Comments

How to Build a Writer’s Platform (An Old-Fashioned Recipe)

Twice a year, I receive a royalties check. (Royalties = the author's portion of profits from sales of a book.) But don't start scanning the sidebar for books I have written and published. I haven't. These royalties are my ongoing inheritance. Twice a year, each year, I get money from sales of a book my mother started writing before I was born. My mother died in 2005. But her publisher, Sasquatch, recently released a 40th anniversary edition of her book, The Encyclopedia of Country Living. In the banner on the corner it says, "over 750,000 copies sold." What would you give, to [...]

By |February 19th, 2014|Writing Life|9 Comments

I am going to start living like an artist

My friend Tara posted this Cheryl Strayed quote the other day. The most important thing for aspiring writers is for them to give themselves permission to be brave on the page, to write in the presence of fear, to go to those places that you think you can’t write – really that’s exactly what you need to write. I was as cool as milk at the time, you guys. I furrowed my brows intelligently. I said, oh, yes, absolutely. I know all about this sort of thing. It's what I do. {{AWAKE}} It's what I teach. {{BRAVE}} It's what I [...]

By |January 25th, 2014|Writing Life|20 Comments

This is Where I Give Away a Free Inspirational eBook! (Unleash Your Wild)

Here's the story of this little eBook. I was bummed. I had just gotten a packet of rejections from literary agents who don't want to represent my memoir about personal authenticity and rebelling and feeling like there are more options than I ever thought...and getting free. Nobody wanted to help me tell my story. I felt sad and trapped. I started to wonder if my story really has value at all…? Should I give up? Should I just go home and be quiet? Should I stop trying? And then I remembered. THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT. Then it [...]

By |January 1st, 2014|Writing Life|34 Comments

What To Do If You [Still] Don’t Have a Literary Agent

Real talk. I'm wearing my brave pretty well these days. I'm putting myself out there. I'm writing well and consistently. I know it's good. But friends, you know the part where I actually land an agent and get a publishing contract? This is not going very well.  It seems like all my friends are getting published or landing agents – every which way. It’s exciting, and I’m so honored to be a friend to each of them. But then, over here, there's me. And I feel this deep today. I am the one who [still] doesn't have an agent. I am [...]

By |December 17th, 2013|Writing Life|18 Comments

Why My Children Are Not My Greatest Accomplishment

I have the kind of kids it’s easy to be proud of. Tall, healthy, smart. They look good in photos. My son knew his letters and his letter sounds when he was two. Even their behavior problems are traceable to dominant personalities and high intelligence.   Kudos for me, right? Super cool.   That ought to make it easier, I think, on those days when I can’t get anything done. It ought to make it easier that it has been four years since I started writing a book, and I know I’m talented, and I know I have a story, [...]

By |November 22nd, 2013|Writing Life|25 Comments

Some Words About Jealousy and Jesus Feminism

I’m not a joiner. Probably nobody who lives off the grid in a yurt in the mountains of Idaho is much of a joiner. I have trouble sometimes, with platforms and publicity, and people trying to get their message out. Sometimes it feels self-centered. Self-obsessed. At least annoying.   But I have to deal with this today, because Sarah Bessey, who is one of my favorite bloggers, has written a book called Jesus Feminist. And she has invited all of her readers to help her promote it, taking these pictures of ourselves, claiming this moniker, basically joining her movement. She [...]

By |October 10th, 2013|Writing Life|52 Comments

My Year Without Internet Was Not a Failure

Three different people have posted this article on my facebook page. This guy went for a year without the Internet. Just like me. I went for a year without the Internet. Except, this guy said it didn't really change anything. And I keeping saying the opposite. I keep saying that when I went for a year offline, I became different in like a hundred ways. I stayed married. Even happily married. Even, like, this-guy-is-cool married. I started meditating every day. I became Christian. I quit eating tortured cows. I quit buying sweatshop-made garments. I quit living in debt. I quit not-cooking. I [...]

By |May 3rd, 2013|Writing Life|12 Comments

See-Through People

I’m too sensitive for the world today. I’m sorry. I’m going to stay upstairs, for Thanksgiving dinner and the foreseeable future. Everything about everything stresses me out. I’m not going to give you the list of the things that qualify as stressors in my life right now. It's a long list.  But then again, the three year old is a little better than she was last week. My husband is spending afternoons on the driveway, building something real. And the five year old likes to walk around kicking sawdust and wearing his daddy’s ear protection. The rest is pretty much [...]

By |November 22nd, 2012|Writing Life|8 Comments

On Writing and Resistance

Today is the day that I begin writing again. It's the day that Sadie is three days old, and Stella is three years old, and Milo is five. I don't live in my own house. I don't have a circle of friends. Basically, my life is pretty much in turmoil, and I don't have any idea what I'm going to do in the next five minutes, let alone five months. It's the perfect day to begin something beautiful and new. Last night I accidentally wrote a poem. In the middle of the night, at two o’clock in the morning, holding [...]

By |October 13th, 2012|Writing Life|4 Comments