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Friday, June 22, 2012

My newest ebook, free!

I've neglected this blog for many a moon, but I did want to sneak back here to let y'all know that:
  1. I'm still here and well;
  2. I've published a new ebook, which will be Kindle only through mid-September; and
  3. The ebook referenced in #2 is free through Sunday evening PDT! 
Interested in downloading the book? 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Becoming a superhero

It’s little wonder I grew up wanting to be a superhero.

From the time I was little, the woman I most admired deemed herself “Thunder Thighs,” with the power to destroy villains by such seemingly innocuous things as body odor and thigh-ripple shock waves.

I don’t remember all of her powers or all the villains she coaxed back toward goodness, but I do remember my giggles. I remember how, in these moments, the world was only mirth and closeness to the funniest, silliest, smartest, prettiest mom in the whole wide world.

Thunder Thighs has retired now, but her cape is stretched forever across my proverbial heart.

I’ve been thinking of her a lot these days. I’d like to be worthy of wearing her cape.

There’s only one way to earn it. It’s not by being skinny enough, tall enough, eloquent enough, smart enough or bestselling enough. Not even a little.

[ read more


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

One month bald: The walls outside & the light within

“People are like stained glass windows; they sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light within.”
–  Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

Many years ago, my brother asked me to picture a mutual friend of ours.

After I had her image firmly in mind, David asked, “Do you see her scars?”

I did not. Her face had seemed perfectly reconstructed in my mind before he asked; in light of his question, I felt ashamed, as if I’d been caught in the act of surreptitiously editing a work not my own.

My brother’s take was different. “You don’t picture it for the same reason you don’t really see it when you’re with her. It’s irrelevant. Her beauty shines from within, not from the specific arrangement of features on her face.”

The conversation was much more extensive than this, and my brother’s overall approach much more nuanced, but this is the part that has stuck with me. It was the part on my mind after I shaved my head for St. Baldrick’s last month.

I expected to be a wreck during the actual shaving. I also expected to be mildly chagrined by how baldness emphasized my already prominent forehead. What I didn’t expect was that I’d feel more beautiful than I ever had before.

I also didn’t expect the staring.

[ Read more ]

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

"Our baby is going to experience racism someday."

There weren’t many white kids in my first grade class in a California military school.

My first crush (if I may use so strong a word for the affections of a first grader) was on a black boy who was so sweet, he immediately forgave me demonstrating the mad karate skills I’d just learned from The Karate Kid . . . even though I’d demonstrated on his groin.

His sweetness went only so far. He lost my favor before the school year was done. A year is, after all, an eternity to a first grader.

My second crush was on another boy, who—like the first—I didn’t think of as “black” at the time. Just cute.

Returning to my Oregon hometown for second grade was a little jarring. To my young eyes, almost everyone’s skin was colored minor variations of the same tone.

When I was old enough to start questioning things, like whether I was really a Republican like my parents, I remember catching sight of a banner flying throughout downtown Eugene and laughing.

The banner proclaimed we ought: “CELEBRATE DIVERSITY!”

“What, as long as it’s somewhere else?!” I remember thinking with equal mirth and incredulity.

I’d rant about these things to Ba.D. only to find myself flummoxed by his calm. It took me a little while and lots of patient explanation on his part to understand this was borne of decades of personal experience. What was new and pressing to me was something he’d already lived for 3.5 decades.

[ read more ]


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Blissfully Bald indeed

As I type this, I have nearly 100% less hair than I did the last time I posted.

One rockin' dancer Donna (photo used with permission)

My progression toward baldness began with reading the post “Blissfully Bald,” in which my friend Chris (From the Bungalow) announced that he and his wife, Karin (Pinwheels and Poppies), would be shaving their heads for St. Baldrick’s. Their inspiration,Donna’s Cancer Story, chronicled one girl’s 31-month battle with cancer.

I’d seen references to Donna’s Cancer Story since September, but it seemed like such a commitment to follow a 31-day blog series. Also, really depressing. I couldn’t imagine a more depressing read.

After reading “Blissfully Bald,” I knew I’d have to read Donna’s Cancer Story. That Friday evening, I settled in and began reading about Donna.

I cried. Oh, how I cried. But I also felt barriers between me and others removed by growing understanding. Through Mary Tyler Mom‘s open, raw descriptions of her daughter Donna’s life with cancer, “them” became “us.” “Those parents” became “someone who could be me”; the children, “someone who could be my son.”

My world grew simultaneously smaller and larger.

[ read more ]

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The company that kept me going

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my struggles budgeting time.

One of my most frustrating such challenges is finding time for writing, or, more accurately, editing. Three already written YA novels await my editorial attention, but it’s tough carving out time to tend to them.

Lack of time makes my progress slower, but it never stops it altogether. I can’t let it.

There is, you see, someone to whom I owe my time and effort.

Read about her over at Martine’s.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Experiencing books

Once a quarter during college, I’d receive my financial aid and go on a book-buying binge. I’d vow to spend my remaining money wisely enough that I’d be able to keep the books.

Once a quarter, nearer its end, I’d look at my books and wish they were nutritionally as well as intellectually sustaining. I’d then haul them to Smith Family Bookstore, where I’d trade one form of sustenance (books) for cash for the other (food).

Only a handful of books survived my college days. Fewer still moved overseas and back with me. Twice.

Early last year, my dear friend Sarah started recommending books she knew I’d like. A Brief History of Montmaray didn’t just suck me into its own pages but back into reading. By the end of 2011, thanks to copious readwalking, I’d read 40ish books. Most of those were ones I’d bought myself, which meant I was adding books to my shelves* knowing I really would be able to keep them this time around.

[ read more ]