Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Privilege is a bitch to spell

Black lives matter. We can say it. We can mean it. But don't let's pretend all lives matter.
If we really meant all lives, it wouldn't be so damned hard to convince my community to allow a homeless shelter in. If we really meant that, we'd actually help the mentally ill and disabled. But we don't. Some lives matter. Some of them are black and some of them are white. Most of them are white and the ones whose voices are heard most are male.

A note on privilege. I haven't written or commented more about white privilege because that word's too hard to spell. Privlidge, privaledge, privledge....

In all seriousness though, I think white people who disregard the existence of inequality are stuck in the possible precedent admitting someone's been mistreated based on their skin color will create and how it might impact someone from their own group down the line and mostly they're stuck in themselves and their own suffering in this life. We all have suffering in our lives. Every one of us. And here's where I'm at with that. I hate that. But more than that I hate that amid someone's own suffering, they're so attached to their pain, so afraid of letting go of their own suffering they can't see someone else's.

I want all my white friends to know, that if you're honest about that word, "privilege" you can still complain. Your suffering is still real. As silly as it sounds, I think some white people are reluctant to admit their privilege because they think it means that nothing can be wrong in their lives, that if you have a privileged life, you can't have problems. But that's not true.

The existence of privilege does not negate all inequity in the world. Among the best parts of being human, I think, is the drive toward fairness, the need for it and the fighting for it. Admitting privilege doesn't mean you can't complain about how the mentally ill are treated or the bum deal you were given with your home or student loans. It just means you can extend a hand to convince others to join in the struggle for a more equal world. And that, is worth doing. Even if I can't spell for shit, I can reach out a hand, and, with all my faults, try to connect myself with the human family in its efforts to be ever greater.

So reach out a hand. Help someone else up. We are better together.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Stop Licking That

My younger son, who I'll refer to as Gomez from here on out, got me sick. The way it happened is this.

Gomez: "Mommy, I want a kiss."
Me, a fool: "Aww..." leans in for kiss
Gomez sneezes in my mouth.

This happened twice.

It's not in this book, but feel free to check out Stop Licking That. It's up for pre-sales!


Thursday, September 22, 2016

The way we'd be happy

This morning as I drove to Denver, I had so very much to say. I was going to describe this little girl and how she would turn out in my story. How her Quincinera would go, how her family would have saved and slaved for it and how she would have just wanted to wear tennis shoes because at15, she still wasn’t ready for high heels and womanhood. But I can’t remember what else. There was something about a man and his body and how to describe the way destiny arranged his limbs into my path, but I can’t recall exactly what intersection I was at when I was supposed to run into and then write about him. What happened? Were they supposed to meet?

Did he miss the little girl too?


Maybe I was supposed to start a book about an apocalypse. The one where the floods come and those of us who live atop mountains where it is dry and without plenty would be flooded with humans coming up the hills to where they might survive. I would write about the way the groups stood atop of mountains and shot at the scores of people who clambered up the mountain trying to survive the rising tides and rising temperatures. The floods of people with floods behind them, and their panicked faces and how the westerners couldn’t handle it. They defended their land against the flood of bodies coming up the hill, desperate. But before that, there was the Florida bride who sizzled and steam rose from her side as it was so hot at her wedding that she literally caught fire. Rain on her wedding day would have saved her but instead her dress melted into her flesh, what was left of it after starving herself to fit into that dress in the first place.


But then life got busy and I didn’t write the characters down and they moved on to other authors, handed out by other muses.


And should I even bother to tell you how much I missed, trying to juggle the people I encountered yesterday and the let down when I didn’t get a chance to have that meaningful conversation with any of the authors. We got together to donate books and it was my tribe and I was so excited to see them. The introverted, contemplative lot. How I love to take a long break inside their minds and hear what they’ve dreamt up lately. And then instead, how we spoke in snippets abuzz with holes of interruptions. What was I saying? I was saying how I missed the connections I’d hoped to have. Only that wasn’t what I was crafting with words. It was deeds and I’d hoped to dance around it a while in conversation, hoping we could waltz into the world of friendship and remember how it felt to be together. But it didn’t work on account of the cheese holes, the way we didn’t finish a thought. The way I didn’t hear you, or see your face and watch it while you formulated a thought. I didn’t see. I was too busy.


We’re all too busy. I fantasize about winning the lottery, like any poor fool does, really. Except I think my fantasy is all about time. I want more of it. I want to use it to hike and skip and listen and never, ever do laundry again. I don’t want to own more anything. So really, if I think of what I most want at any given moment, it’s connection. When I think of what I miss about high school, the answer is mostly nothing. High school was a terrible time for me. But in those years and the ones that followed, I had those deep down friends, anything-friends, the ones you can do nothing with or swim around a pond, or go to a party, or start a ruckus, you can do anything with them. Those friends. Nearly 20 years after high school, I still know plenty of anything friends, everything friends. But the times when I’m around them are rarer and so what I truly miss is that one friend. The one friend you see every other day or so, that you talk to once or twice or sometimes even three times a day. I miss that connection. And if I think of what money would get me, it isn’t that. So maybe I need to figure out how to right my ship and point it toward the chance to connect and form that friendship. Except, everyone’s too damned busy for that sort of thing. It’s too bad. I think it’s how we’d be happy.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A Tiny Grocery Store, which lives?

On our way out of town, we stop in a small town grocery store. Lynn's Grocery Store. The aisles are shorter and fewer and the linoleum older than the major chains. There's bins just like the bigbox store but these have no copy written glossy signage. There's just a bin of balls all low down with a paper sign. Rob says yes to the kids when they ask for a ball and I roll my eyes at how sweet his soft spots are: two of them, one for each kid.

"You guys can pick one and share it." My soft spot is a communistic piece of me. They share it and it takes over my heart like a wild weed turning over on itself and going out of control over all of me.

The boys agonize over their choice and argue each option's virtues. The orange basketball is a better choice because... duh, basketball and the soccer is better because well, soccer. In the end after making a persuasive argument, the older piece of my soft spot gives in to his own weak spot for his brother, hugs him, and says they'll get the soccer ball. The younger boy smiles in a way that makes his plump cheeks stand out and his eyes sparkle with delight. The weeds spread.

I feel that recoil though when we get to the line to pay and there's a sign "We support our Police, All Lives Matter." My roots lift up and wait for different soil. I'll be able to soak up the nutrients I've picked up from my trip without setting anything down. I can hold it until later.

I think of Faviola, Favi she likes to be called, the pregnant Mexican woman I met at the pool with her son. She's a permanent legal resident who was concerned about my family staying in such a dump as the cabins we'd decided on. She made sure to tell me she was legal, as if it made any difference to em at a pool alongside an RV park and cheap cabins. She invited us to shower or cook at her house. She hadn't had people be very nice to her in this new community she'd just moved to and I pondered that. How could that be? Her accident was so good, her English as impeccable as her manners, she wore tasteful small gold jewelry and a nice blouse. How could people not have been more hospitable and welcoming to her? Were they racist?

The sign would seem to indicate yes. "All lives can't matter until black lives matter. And it's a police state when police can kill with impunity." I wanted to scream as soon as I saw the sign. But where would that get me?

Probably no further than it would have gotten me to tell the old white farmers at the truckstop where we'd stopped for lunch the previous day why it was that all these pussies would be voting for Hillary. "I'll be voting for her," I wanted to shout, "because of 30 years of what she's had to say for women and children." What might your posterchild for entitlement have to say for women and children. Wait, nothing appropriate or respectful or additive, that's for sure. And how can you call him anything but a pussy? He's never had to work a hard day in the sun with his bare hands like you have. Never. He's not worked for things the way you have. You've nothing in common but your skin and gender. And even that has weathered differently. But where would saying this get me?

Probably no further than it'd have gotten me with the couple with the confederate flag hanging from the side of their tent alongside an American one we'd seen earlier in the week in the national park where we'd been camping. I'd wanted to yell, "how's the view from up there you racist asses?" But that was just anger. I couldn't think of anything clever. As I steamed in anger, I tried unsuccessfully to think of something. I wished I could change my skin color and march right up and say nothing. Cross my arms across my chest and stare right at that flag until they felt the shame they should. They had it coming to them.

We probably all do really. With our expensive clothes and cars full of camping gear, driving across thousands of years of buffalo and Lakota bones. Fences caging in ancestry and ancient knowledge, spiritual connection.

But this thinking wouldn't get me anywhere.

Anymore than saying something to the checker would. I look at the cursive black lettering of the store's name Lynn's Grocery Store. I wonder if Lynn saw the video of the unarmed black caregiver who was trying to explain to police about his autistic charge and was shot despite laying on the ground. But clearly all lives matter?

Instead of saying any of these things, I ask for directions. The woman, a black gap where a tooth should have been to the right of her two front teeth and her dyed brown hair pulled back in a pony tail, nods at me and comes around the till. The whole area had many of her. Women who were missing one or two teeth, whose gums had receded.

She walks me out of the store to the parking lot, points and says, "It's easier if I show you."

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Tuck you behind me, an ear listening

I would that I could be the wisps of hair on your face,
That I could cross your cheek like a waterfall tumbles down a hill
Tuck you behind me, an ear listening
when I fall for you,
We are water and rock, roaring
Our spray-- misty rainbows and lime-colored mosses

I would that I could be the sweat that gathers on your brow,
As you swing a pickax
I would salt you and taste the sweetness of sweat in the quake of earth and dirt on you
I just wanted to say quake
Because it’s what I do
I quake
I quiver inside of your jagged thoughts
I love the ripples of your belly like water skipping beats across the heart-shaped pond of my stomach
I’m shallow in this
I wade in at night, in stolen time between seconds ticking on the clock
Where I might meet you in dreams of barefoot stillness
waters like glass, stars amid blackness, winks on the ground
Your arms are long enough to reach across a dreamt-pond to let me hold onto you
then you pull me up mountains: post holing and gasping
I pull you into dreams: ethereal, drenched, and panting
I feel your rhythm in my hips, we sway and dip, sultry as we are
You feel my words in your hollows, sinewy and inviting
 But the second hand moves
I wake
You move
I move on
It is day.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Something that's additive, that's filled with love

I posted this on my Facebook page and was met with a wonderful response.

When my dad came out, I was 14. I was afraid. I was afraid of people hating him or hurting him and I was afraid of people hating me or hurting me. I have prided... our society of late for the incredible progress we've seen on this front. Students coming to my classes no longer see this as an issue. There is not fear of harm or hate in their eyes.

What happened, it breaks me. It sets my confidence on edge, unsteadies my step. I want to have something additive to say in this conversation.

But right now, I'm just indescribably sad.

Maybe someone has something filled with love and perspective to share. I keep reading on here to see it. I haven't yet.

But my husband just stopped us all from our respective corners, pulled the boys out of the bathtub, and me from my work, and took us outside to see a double rainbow.

Please share what you have to that's additive, that's filled with love. I'm guessing we could all use more rainbows.

The comments were photos from around my community of the same double rainbow I'd seen from other angles.


Friday, June 10, 2016

Dear Brock and his daddy, 16 Lessons You May Need to Learn about Drinking and 1 Other Thing

A Convicted Rapist and his dad seem to think they know what we need to learn about drinking. They are wrong. They need to learn about rape.
So here are 16 lessons you may need to learn about drinking, and 1 thing they should learn:

1. Don't pee on a fire hydrant.

2. Don't mix cool aid, Jack Daniels, and E. I have learned this by the smell of Red Rocks on a cool summer evening and did not appreciate it much. But I can understand it. Don't do it.

3. Hangovers are terrible. You may learn this lesson multiple times in your life.

4. Heels suck. You may decide they suck and leave them behind. Your feet may get very, very dirty and even cut up. No one wants you to sleep on their couch when your feet are this dirty.

5. Falling off of a bike while drinking hurts. It might seem like a better choice than walking but.... well, I'll let you decide this lesson. In my case, it involved some lost skin on my hands and was quite painful.

6. If you dress up like a dog and ask someone to fetch you a beer on Halloween, you won't have to get your own beer. This might also be true other days of the year.

7. Spraying pledge all over your hardwood floors will be funny for longer than you think.

8. Don't get McDonald's, even if they're still open. And really, really don't go to Courtesy Diner in St. Louis. "I can hear your cheese coagulating" is an actual pickup line I was told there and that was my cue to go home.

9. Especially don't pee in McDonald's drive through. Seriously, what is wrong with you?

10. You can't sing.

11. You CAN sing! At the top of your lungs with all your friends in the car in the drivethru. Best thing ever. Also, parodies. They're hilarious. Also, Irish drinking songs. I don't know any but if we've been drinking, you can teach them to me and then I'll learn a new lesson that I'll promptly forget when I'm wondering what happened.

12. You can't juggle.

13. You CAN juggle. You run a juggling school and you're name is Penelope.

14. No one is looking at the floor in the bar. You can sit under the bar and tie someone's shoes to a bar stool.

15. But, Don't sit on the floor of the bar. It's icky. Did you not see your feet after #4?

16. Don't pull on your new friend's barstool, accidentally pull too hard and pull it out from under him. This may be when you learn that your new friend has a prosthetic leg after he falls to the floor and lifts up his pant leg.

17. Don't rape anyone.

Wait, scratch that last one. That's something I never once had to learn about drinking. I'm thinking... wait... nope. Never.

I have climbed trees, peed on a fire hydrant, pledged the floors of my apartment, lost my shoes, pulled the chair out from under a guy with a prosthetic leg, eaten poprocks with soda, gotten pulled over on my bike by the police, tied someone's shoes to their barstool, pretended I was British and a professional juggler, but I have NEVER once, oops, fucked up and gotten drunk and raped another person. Never. It's not a lesson you learn in college. It's not a lesson about drinking. And victims don't need to learn it.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Huck it all or get a doctorate?

I'm always doing something new for work (the work I do for money that is. I'm always writing different things too but that's not really for money.) In my 14 year career I have taught small groups and whole classes. I have taught someone who has never read a word and I have taught college writing. I have worked in child protection and adult protection. I have taught in a classroom with kids who dissociated and didn't know where they were. I have tutored college writing and taught ESL.

These days I do disabilities services which means I help students with disabilities get accommodations to make their college content accessible. Today I worked on a de-escalation presentation for staff and faculty around how to help avoid escalation as well as help settle someone down, especially students with PTSD.

I have turned off my screen and tried using a screen reader to look at a website with a text to voice software that tells me what I'm scrolling over.

What I like about doing this sort of work is thinking of the world differently. What would airport security be like if you couldn't see? What would lead climbing be like if you could hear someone yell "ROCK"? What would working in the professional world be like if you had dyslexia?

I love reading and writing and learning new things and as much as people want to make that a thing about me, it's not. It's normal to be curious and to enjoy learning new things. One of the coolest parts of working in higher education, especially at a community college level, is finding the way people get curious and reward their curiosity with knowledge. It's amazing to see what people overcome to get to class and to learn.

I met a kid in the lobby today who had broken his eye socket base jumping. He showed me the video of it happening and we talked about our shared love of adrenaline rushes. I don't even know his name. But I know that when he's down for the count, he goes, well, I guess it's time to let my focus be on learning and school while I heal.

I guess it's okay for my focus to move around too. Even if it means less writing. I hate that but I'm looking at beginning a doctoral program and that will be the case for me if I do indeed do it. It will keep me meeting people who take a break from base jumping to study and who use screen readers to learn and who use sign language to learn math. It will keep me in the qualification pool to keep on working in a place where folks meet challenges in a way I really want to keep being a part of. But then, when I sit for too long, there are also moments when I want to huck it all and just write every day. It's hard to imagine jumping off that cliff though but you just never know...

Monday, February 29, 2016

Do you ever go on vacation and figure out exactly what you want to be when you grow up?

And you figure out it's exactly who you actually are? (well, except you haven't figured how to make any money yet.) Yeah, that happened to me. I want to be a writer. I want to spend long days fixing the words into shapes and pieces that you could cut a tooth on.

We went driving through the desserts of Arizona and Utah and my husband and I talked about the important lessons in life that we'd want to pass on and how do you do that? Allegory? We talked about my novel ideas and what kind of music shop would be fun to run, gourmet hot chocolate anyone with your string change? and I realized I am an infinity of gratitude about this family I've found and pieced together into something filled with burnt oranges and sand in your toes and swings and barefoot hours or minutes or days I can't tell for sure...chasing lizards and boys and kisses and jogs through new places.

When I grow up, I want to be me.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Unique Help I'm Able to Offer

It's not easy to measure success. And if you do it in terms of could-I-live-off-my-writing, then no, I'm not successful. I'm on this author FB group where people are measuring and advertising and do all these things I've never heard of and it's good because I get ideas, but then I get intimidated too. By their success measured, I don't think I'd be doing so well.

But if you do it in terms of have-I-made-progress and did-this-matter-to-anyone, then yes. I do try the things people on these sites say (some of them anyway.) And sometimes I inch forward.

Here's the progress. I saved enough money and paid for a Kirkus review just before Christmas. They feature less than 10% of their reviews in their print media and mine got picked. That's cool. But not as cool as the did-this-matter-to-anyone category.

Yesterday I talked with parents who had adopted their son years ago and have struggled to figure out his behavior ever since. I gave them some ideas including contacting a lawyer to renegotiate a subsidy to help them pay for the significant amount they're having to come up with to pay for all their son's therapies and for respite care for him when it just gets to be too much. I also encouraged them to find peer connections for him within foster care and post-foster care communities in order to help him see his situation in perspective and potentially see himself become a leader, telling kids how it can be to live. These suggestions were the unique help I got to offer because I wrote this book. (And because of the previous work I've done as a teacher and caseworker.) If I hadn't written it, they would never have known I had this background and would not have asked.
One day, I came into work and saw a colleague I'd given a copy to. I know her to be a reader and that she sits on a committee who recommends books for the college where I work. I was explicit when I told her I wanted to be selected and this was why I was giving her the book. Well, and obviously I thought she'd like it.
That morning she handed me cash and told me she'd finished my book and that it had made her want to be a foster parent and that she'd like to pay for the book so that she could support me as a writer. What better impact could you ask for?
Finally, I sent a copy to Marilyn (Atler) VanDerbur. I loved her book Miss America by Day and read it in one sitting. I wanted to thank her for the bravery it took to tell her story and to convince millions of women and survivors of their worth. She's truly a wonder.
She sent me this after she read it.
"Dear Karin,
Thank you for shedding so much light on what happens to too many children.
  Especially RTC...
so little is understood.

I didn't find it raw or dark - found it so educational.

I have emails from adults who have survived this - I will recommend your book -
it is always helpful to have our experiences validated...

Thank you for sharing this..."
So, I'm not a professional writer in that I don't make my money that way. But if I measure success by the impact I'm having, it may not be constant, but it is unique and it matters to me greatly.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

On teaching youth: An intergenerational, value-based idea

What we lack in our society is not training or education or wealth, but the mirror that we hold up to each generation that shows them their worth:
  • the value of youth to bring energy and solutions and push and push until they are realized
  • the value of middle age to see the value of both sides of the coin: young and old, and keep on in the midst of the storm amid all its fury and whorl to see the simplicity of a single moment of abundance
  • the value of old age where vanity takes its leave and we are free to help and simply be with our knowledge.
Our youth are without purpose. We don't show them their value and they are left wandering, disconnected from each other and us, without the necessary means to channel their instinct for change. They used to be the risk takers we needed in hunting and battle. Those with the courage to stand up to the group and say "stop." Those who would stand up to a genocide. Those who would encourage us to walk when we're used to driving, or build our homes from something more sustainable. But we discount their ideas and their energies. We tell them they're young and don't know anything. And that's not untrue, they are without wisdom and sometimes without depth, but it's only part of the story. We educate them in pods of 12 months apart that do not teach them to interchange ideas generationally so we know not how to take their ideas. Nor they ours.

Our adult childrearing population is disconnected from the ancient knowledge and following whims of parenting without a network of supports. Sometimes it works. Sometimes we all get overwhelmed and just let them eat nachos and play on a tablet. Sometimes people are so disconnected they do this all the time. Sometimes as we're engaged in this age, we know exactly how valuable it is. I know I do. I know how amazing it is to relearn the world through my children's eyes. I know how infinitely miraculous it is to hear a bird in the quiet of snow-covered forest floor for the first time, or take off in flight in an airplane and watch the world become grids and streams and stacks below. I know how perfect it can be to fall asleep wrapped up in my children and to find the purpose of that swell of plump just below my belt, as it makes the absolute perfect pillow for my five-year-old. I know that the value of marriage is not merely in safety or security but in feeling the beating heart of a person you've loved for 10 years as though it were inside your own chest as you cleave to each other, not out of need or habit, but out of desire and satisfaction.

And though I know these things, I'd say that I still fall into the disconnected category. I hoard these moments close; they are insular, ours alone. We have made and protected a beautiful moment, a perfect connection with the four of us. But it doesn't extend into a multi-generational community. It is a fragile four, and its wonder is protected by small numbers.

When I was a little girl, I connected to a woman in her nineties who lived down the street from me. She was basically homebound. She could not always raise her hands above her shoulders long enough to even brush her hair. I'm not sure exactly what I sought from the relationship but I was about 8 and would go to her house from time to time and sit and wait to see if she'd tell any stories of her life. She rarely did but it was nice to sit quietly with her. Once we made pasta from scratch and I was terrified I'd cut the pasta wrong and she'd have to do it over again. I knew how hard it was for her but she was very patient and calm about the whole thing. I held back in a way that is uncharacteristic of me except when I am around someone very, very old. Then I calm, and quiet, and wait.

Most of the time, I'm pretty high strung. I have trouble with calm and waiting. I need a lot of exercise and if I don't get it (which is often lately,) I struggle with anxiety and worry and rethink things that shouldn't be bothered with much less analyzed and worried about. I can think of a comment in any given interchange to worry may have been taken wrong or that I shouldn't have said. I can snap with my kids in a way I didn't think I would, getting snippy and bitchy at them when I shouldn't be. And maybe a ninety year old among us would help me. Maybe that generation's value of time and patience would allow my children to calm too.

Maybe the lacking of ego or vanity, the carelessness of age would hold a mirror up to us all and remind us that we are, each of us, are our 3-year-old selves learning the world for the first time; at the same time as we are our 5-year-old helper selves; at the same time as our frustrated, eye-rolling 15 year-old selves; at the same time as our 25-year old adventuring selves; at the same time as our 35-year-old responsible, loving selves. And maybe that age would remind us that we still have selves to find if we just wait...

Those of us who love engaging with young people know something about the value of this particular age. We know how to hear their ideas and engage in the excitement of something new and different with glassy eyes. But maybe it's not simply for us to hear them. Maybe I should take my own advice. Maybe I should teach them to hear an idea, and wait. Maybe teach them to hold up the value of the person providing the idea and consider that that person represents a wealth of ages and experiences and consider those things. Maybe...

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Judge not by credentials but by the story

I've picked away at the task of networking lately. I fall down a rabbit hole of groups on LinkedIn or I search book lists for similar books. I read reviews and search public profiles and youtube videos to see how people are doing the business of writing. I toss around ideas about redoing the cover, I review other books, I contact folks I think I might connect with. I attempt, again and again, to describe who I am to strangers in the hopes that this will be the right connection to foster good professional development and a network of awesome.

I want a network of awesome. Awesome people, doing work of all shapes and sizes to make the world a better place. Among recent friends I have a woman lawyer who does immigration law and a former race car driver who works to make parenting advice accessible to all. These are mostly mommy or skiing friends though.

I'm looking for the writers and the readers. I find a writing connection because the person writes about marketing or writes about the same topics or lives in my area and I attempt to cultivate a relationship. I usually start off feeling as I imagine many, many young men have over the years, as though I'm outclassed, staring at an attractive woman across the room.

I scratch out a draft of an email. I am blahblah, I did this and that. You should care because we have suchandsuch in common. And I mean these connections as I write them. I feel them. But I also feel like I'm probably going to get an eye roll and she'll turn back to her friend, reject my offer of friendship and I'll try again.

Sometimes I get it just right though. I am who I. I don't try hard to hide anything and the genuine weirdo/mostly nice person that I am comes through. I get a phone call, on an actually phone from someone saying thank you for the book. Sometimes these connections feel divinely inspired and I can hear the fears of the person on the other end of the line wondering how I wrote. I can hear how the other person fears that he or she won't be good enough, even though when I first contacted them, I believed them too good for me. And when I can hear their fears, I am reminded that we are all human, frail and afraid of failing. And yet guaranteed to sometimes do just that.

Most recently, I downloaded a fellow author's book. The author holds many accolades and is well-respected for his work. And I'm SURE he sells a lot of books. But as a reader, as I stared down the page, I was reminded of all that I've learned in recent years about describing a scene.

I was reminded that someone thinks I look good on paper and sometimes other people's work looks so much more accomplished than my own. And yet, at the end of the day, each individual book is judged by a reader, not by what they know about the author or the cover, but by the painstaking detail of showing up, as a writer, to do the work of putting pen to paper and creating in the mind of the reader, a scene. Followed by another scene. Followed by another with dialogue and metaphor and setting and imbued with meaning. And if I make that happen in a reader's mind on any given day, I've won. And if a writer grants that gift to me, I've won again.

Writing is hones that way. You either engage with the page, or you stop. Hope you're finding good reading this January. I know I am.