I can't remember ever having a well-defined role model, one of those people you look up to and write grade school essays about.
I was seven when Saturday Night Fever was released. Of course, at that age, I was a good decade away from being old enough to actually watch the movie
I watched this video by Ijeoma Oluo yesterday. And the above quote is the one that hit home. Comfort is such an easy choice
It seemed, at first, too small to matter and too small to write about. What new thing had I done this week besides make a few phone calls to the White House
Ever since I was little kid, I've struggled with feeling like I don't belong (that's me on the far right with the dumbfounded expression hiding behind her bangs).
I stand in the corner, squeezed in next to the recliner where the patient spends most of his days. I stare at the top of his purple fleece cap
It's so easy to pretend to take someone's advice, or even mean to take someone's advice and then fail completely on the follow through.
Hold space. Sure. I hold all I can. I'll hold it if you sidle up close, hip to hip, and whisper something true.
Making a reservation at Kah-Nee-Ta, a resort on the Warm Springs Reservation, might have been new, but it wasn't a challenge.
I've had a driver's license since I was 16, but I didn't own a car or really drive on a regular basis until I was 40.
I've been a practicing full-time massage therapist for 20 years. While my skills have improved vastly over the years,
I finished writing a book this year. Unlike the novel I wrote (and almost immediately threw in a drawer to forget),
I choose Before the Rain. When I start to describe the movie as Macedonian and Albanian, my partner holds up a hand, "That's all you need to say." He is history-minded and his heritage is Albanian, so he knows what this means. But it isn't that conflict I remember from the film. It's the love stories in... Continue Reading →
This story was originally published in Vinyl, March 2016. http://vinylpoetryandprose.com/2016/03/t-a-burkholder/ Threat of Rain She couldn’t see or feel it yet, but it was there. All that wet wanting to exhale from the sky. I’m walking fast because it’s about to pour. She had the explanation, the dismissive yet biting tone all ready before she got... Continue Reading →
It's 2016, March already and for some reason I was compelled back here today after many months away. Part of it is my own completion complex, that thing in me that makes me clean my plate and read a book to the end that I don't really like. It's not a very useful impulse, but... Continue Reading →
As a kid, my prayers all started with this: "Dear God, thankyouthankyouthankyou for..." I was pretty sure that the more times I said thank you, the more sincere my prayer was. On nights I was tired, I only eked out a couple thanks. Other times, I dug in and let it roll wanting to make... Continue Reading →
Art month was fun, even though I didn't actually make as much art as I thought I would.I made this really silly gif from pics of my bedhead every morning. I had a ton of fun at collage night at the IPRC (collage is zen!). I also wrote a whole bunch. I read a whole bunch. I went... Continue Reading →
My August challenge of completing one of Lynda Barry's daily diary exercises was probably my mildest challenge yet. It was short and fast and easy: A list of Things I Did, Things I Saw, One Thing I Heard and a 30 second drawing every day. I filled in the exercise in a composition notebook every night... Continue Reading →
I admit it, turning the TV off for the month of July was not entirely successful. I cheated a bunch. I'd come home from work exhausted and sit and watch Anthony Bourdain eat delicious-looking food in beautiful-looking countries. I did fairly well, however, at avoiding the useless local news. My partner was less committed to... Continue Reading →
First, let me say that June's sweet-free challenge was, for the most part, a little easier than I anticipated. I got cravings now and then and occasionally drooled longingly at a friend's chocolate bar, but it wasn't too bad. I didn't feel physically different having removed sweets from my diet. To me, this signals that even... Continue Reading →
My month of mindfulness, in perfectly ironic fashion, lost most of its deliberateness about three-quarters of the way through. I stopped looking at my list of exercises because so many of them seemed to be guiding me in the same direction. Let go, they told me. So, I did. I let go of the formal framework... Continue Reading →
In 2012 I gave myself the goal of daily walks to Mt. Tabor, a big, beautiful park near my house in Portland, OR. I actually started daily walks there in the summer of 2011, but on January 1st of the new year, I added an extra component of taking a photograph of the park and posting... Continue Reading →
This essay originally appeared in The Cincinnati Review vol. 9.1 in the summer of 2012. It was selected as a Notable Essay in The Best American Essays 2013. Proof “Touch is food. Vital food.” – Deane Juhan, Job’s Body Ginger-scented oil slicks my fingers. A new massage client lies beneath them, his... Continue Reading →
This essay was first published on this blog in April 2014. An Unknown Shape I wanted. Again and then again. I wanted my body to make the shape their bodies made: Adho Mukha Vrksasana. Downward Facing Tree. Handstand. I watched from the back of the yoga studio as they flung themselves upside down against the... Continue Reading →
This essay originally appeared in The Clackamas Literary Review 2012 vol. XVII Jumpers I’ve been obsessed with the jumpers for months. Every day, I sit in front of my computer and watch them leap. Nineteen miles above solid ground, John Kittinger prepares. Wearing the best partial pressure suit 1960 has to offer, he stands on... Continue Reading →
This month's challenge of doing a different mindfulness exercise every day has, in many ways, been the easiest one I've done so far. It's not that I'm so good at being in the now. I'm often thoroughly distracted, mind racing off in dozens of directions, but there is gentleness in this practice, a necessary attitude... Continue Reading →
For some time now, I've been aware, mindful you might say, of how I drift. Instead of feeling the skin/muscle/bone beneath my hands while giving a massage, I am building imaginary conversations or going on imaginary road trips. In the middle of listening to the music, the poet, the friend, I realize I've stopped hearing... Continue Reading →
Procrastination elimination month has been a success. Not an overwhelming success. The trellis in the backyard is still broken and I may or may not get around to prepping my garden beds in the next couple of days and I didn't submit that story anywhere, and, and, and... The ridiculous list posted below (far more... Continue Reading →
This anti-procrastination month is going really well so far. There's a small moment of panic each day when I realize I have to face something on my list. But I make my choice and just run with it. At the end of the day I get to add a new thing to the checklist of... Continue Reading →
An incredibly unappealing list sits in my notebook right now. It's a page and a half of things I've been meaning to do but haven't. I wrote it out one afternoon in January and was very, very tempted to put off making that list my challenge for yet another month. I just know I'm going... Continue Reading →
It's good to be happy with small accomplishments. That's the size they come in where my writing is concerned. With just a few days to go, I'm confident I can reach my goal of writing every day this month. More often than not, twenty minutes flew by and I kept on, making it half an hour or... Continue Reading →
I've been writing and avoiding writing since I was a teenager. I used to read a lot about the writing life and all the myriad ways writers kept themselves on their creative paths, hoping I'd find the perfect clue on how to make all this work. Now, barely a day goes by that I don't... Continue Reading →
I'm whipping this post out before I head over to the yoga studio for class. I love the woman teaching this morning. It's amazing how someone just giving a simple but different cue for how to do a pose changes everything. One class, a couple weeks ago, she told us that it should feel weird, maybe... Continue Reading →
I'm sixteen days in to my month of daily yoga and have run the gamut of emotions from elation to teeth-grinding frustration over what my body can and cannot do. Going to my mat every day gives me the chance to try and move through these extremes of emotion and settle into something a bit more balanced.... Continue Reading →
I'm not the kind of person to read a self-help book and follow through on the suggested activities, reflections, etc. I don't want to keep a gratitude journal. I don't want to write a letter to my future self or a thank you note to my inner child. I don't want to make a dream board.... Continue Reading →
I'm not one for New Year's resolutions, but I am one for new projects. Or at least, continuing old projects that involve doing new things. So I'm back to it around here. My goal is to venture out and do something new at least once a month that's worth writing about. That feels like the... Continue Reading →
For the week of my birthday, which was otherwise celebrated in subdued fashion, I snagged a night in one of the cabins at Cape Lookout State Park. The price was a bit steep for what it offered, both more and less than what I needed, but the view on a still and sunny fall day... Continue Reading →
As I neared the end of this blog project, I thought I might continue it in a more casual fashion, posting only when something worthy happened. I didn't imagine that something worthy would happen so soon. I didn't know that meeting a friend for lunch would turn into me making wishbones out of wax. I've... Continue Reading →
I feel the need to swear more than usual. Fifty-two fucking new things! That's right, motherfucker! Okay, many of them were silly and small. One week, I climbed a bunch of stairs in the Alameda neighborhood and called it good. I rode the municipal elevator in Oregon City. I went to a few different reading... Continue Reading →
This week I was reminded of why I need to get my ass in gear and make some more goddamn money. Oh sure, it would be good for all sorts of reasons (retirement...what's that? Safety net...uh, no thanks, I guess). But the main reason is for stuff like PICA's TBA Festival (that's Portland Institute of... Continue Reading →
The only time I'd been in a really small plane was on a sightseeing trip over the Grand Canyon when I was a girl. All ten or so passengers threw up on the turbulent flight except me and that was only out of sheer will. So a few months ago when my friend first asked... Continue Reading →
When I first moved to Portland, the art walk/street fair/Portlandia skit come to life known as Last Thursday didn't exist. Alberta Street was not "The Alberta Arts District." Back then, the hipster bar was a Baptist church. The gift boutique was a boarded up store front. Slowly, artists started to move into the area (for... Continue Reading →
I kind of can't believe I have 48 of these things. At the same time, it really feels like this is the 48th. All I want to do is list the two new things I did this past week, upload a photo and call it a day. My reluctance to elaborate or dig deeper just... Continue Reading →
The Enchanted Forest theme park sits on an oddly tantalizing perch visible from I-5 just south of Salem. Every time I was on that stretch of highway, I'd see the fake tudor buildings peeking out of the woods and promise myself that someday I'd go. So what if I didn't have kids? So what if... Continue Reading →
My new thing this week was going to be floating down the Deschutes in Bend. But the weather was against us. Cool temps and thunderstorms meant I decided to stay at home while my partner went off to Bend to visit his dad and play a gig. Two days off with no plans and no... Continue Reading →
The 198o explosion of Mt. St. Helen's has been a point of fascination for me ever since I moved here. What must it have been like to be witness to that kind of crazy power, that kind of wild disaster? I can get lost in looking at pictures of the aftermath. Everything thick with ash.... Continue Reading →
My neighborhood in southeast Portland provides all the essentials within easy walking distance. It's easy to exist in a little bubble over here, rolling back and forth over the same 10 square blocks. Ever since I stopped commuting to the west side for work, I sometimes forget that there's a great big river that flows... Continue Reading →
I've never been in the loop. As far as new and local music goes, even in my twenties I was pretty clueless. I had friends that were regulars at Satyricon and La Luna and where else? See, I don't even know where else. I love music. I'm deeply moved by music, but I've never been... Continue Reading →