essays/stories

week 9: trying

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

week 8: welcome

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).

week 7: hospice

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

lump

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 →

month twelve: giving up

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 →

month eleven: thankyouthankyou

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 →

month ten: practice

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 →

month nine: artsy and/or fartsy

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 →

month eight: Lynda Barry’s daily diary

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 →

month seven: turn off the idiot box

 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 →

month six: sweats and sweets

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 →

daily tabor 2012

 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 →

proof

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 →

an unknown shape

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 →

jumpers

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 →

month five: update – now, now

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 →

month five: mind empty/ mind full

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 →

month four: summary

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 →

month three: summary

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 →

month three: aim low and write

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 →

month two: summary

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 →

month two: update

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 →

month one: solo swim

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 →

addendum b: lookout

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 →

week fifty-two: fuck yeah

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 →

week fifty-one: sing, dance, share

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 →

week fifty: pitch and yaw

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 →

week forty-nine: the first last

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 →

week forty-four: the big float

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 →

week forty-three: under the bridge

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 →

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