Notes from my First World Fantasy Con

You’ll find yourself among “our kind of people,” my friend told me as he described what it would be like to attend World Fantasy Con. Just the presence of “world” in the title was enough to intimidate me. I’ve been to a handful of conferences before, and I usually feel small and overwhelmed by both the crowds and the amount of information being poured across my…

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It doesn’t always look like success

It was a summer evening on Whidbey Island a couple of years ago. We were on a relaxing family beach vacation, and I was breaking down in tears. My sister had just shown us a video of an amazing scarf acrobatics dance routine that she had choreographed to the song Thunder by Imagine Dragons. It was stunning and beautiful and powerful and after watching it, I…

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Perspective

Lake Kachess, WA Pebbles grind beneath my shoes on a rocky beach overlooking the blue-green waters of Lake Kachess. The clouds are clean white and bunched, like someone pushed them together to bulk up their size, then puffed them up using a straw. One cloud strongly resembles a charging elephant—how long has it been since I looked for shapes in the clouds, and for only my…

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Writers of the Future: My Week in Hollywood

Wow...you guys. I've returned safely from Los Angeles with a full head and swelling heart. My time was chock-full of learning, making connections, learning the craft and business of writing, and (the best part!) making friends. My week got off to an awesome start when I discovered I'd been assigned the talented and wonderful Carrie Callahan (fellow writer winner) as my roommate. My exclamation of "YES"…

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See the Snow

We’re in the midst of our first Seattle snow of the year. My five-year-old son’s near-constant prayer since before Christmas has been a request for snow. When the first flakes fell, he was pulling on his shoes “Just to lick it.” He had his dream come true: He bundled up, went out to our cul-de-sac and threw snow with the neighbor kids, made snow angels, rolled…

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Song of Belfair

I sing the song of Belfair Of village-towns with foreign names. Curve them on your tongue, hold them in your throat. Kfarhata, Beirut, Seattle   Belfair with its salty channels Crab pots, oyster shells that glisten Yellow-twine rope swing dangles from the balcony Grandaughter's Christmas tree stands in the basement Sturdy treehouse of round-branch walls Gazes on the wildflower bed You made them for me.  …

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Anything but Plain (WA)

As the capstone to my participation in the Cascadia Residency this year, I and four other artists stayed in a beautiful riverside retreat center in Eastern Washington called the Grunewald Guild. We experienced warm, mild weather, created art, took restorative breaks in hammocks, and gathered around fresh meals that were prepared for us. We worked hard, really! It was a true residency—we didn’t have to worry about…

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Take Care

Having the second baby has made me slow down. A lot. My new normal has squeezed me toward ultra-focused sessions of writing and drafting in the afternoon and a running list of priorities that I update daily. My household chores have been broken down into a monthly and weekly rotation. I prep my dinners on one particular afternoon a week, and I plan-plan-plan so that the important…

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The Art of the Do-Over

What would you do over, if you could? My husband and I were recently talking about things we truly wished we could do over again. He’d wished he’d attended high school prom with the girl who’d asked him. I wished I’d actually dated a particular boy in my senior year of high school, despite my parents’ objections—because, looking back, I’m pretty sure he was my first…

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I See You (a Father’s Day letter)

Beloved, I see you. Up in the morning with the little one smiling on your shoulders as she rides through the house in the hiking backpack carrier that you wanted for your birthday. You yearn to bring our babies along on your outdoor adventures. The beauty of that desire does not escape me. I see you. Curled up on the couch in the morning light with…

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