essay

New Essay in Print

Cover of the 30th Anniversary Issue of  Sycamore Review . Artwork by Marianne Boruch.

Cover of the 30th Anniversary Issue of Sycamore Review. Artwork by Marianne Boruch.

My newest essay, “Patterning,” appears in the current issue of Sycamore Review, Vol. 30.1. The essay was a finalist for the 2018 Wabash Prize in Nonfiction. “Patterning” explores my ambivalence toward religion, the responsibilities of motherhood, and the ways we make meaningful choices.

This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of publication for Sycamore Review, the internationally acclaimed literary journal for Purdue University. The issue includes the prizewinning essay, “Epiphany,” by Jo-Anne Berelowitz and the Runner Up, “Listening Room,” by Jeff Albers. I am pleased that my essay has found a home among such thoughtful work.

An Essay and a Poem

Cover of the The Florida Review, Issue 41.2

My newest essay, "Body of Water," has just been released in the Fall 2017 issue of The Florida Review (Issue 41.2). I am thrilled to see my work alongside an essay by Nancy McCabe, one of my mentors in the Spalding MFA Program. I explored the process of writing "Body of Water" in my previous blog post,The Middle Stage. After three years of work, it is gratifying to see the essay in print.

The Florida Review is the journal for the University of Central Florida and has been in publication since 1975. It was a pleasure to work with the editorial staff, and I am grateful for my inclusion in this issue. To support the ongoing work of this fantastic journal, purchase the issue here

Late 2017 also marked a milestone in my career with the publication of my first poem, "In the Sound." The poem was featured on the website of Seattle's Poetry on Buses program on December 16th. For one year, the website features a poem each day on the theme, "Your Body of Water." Select poems appear on buses and other transit options throughout the city through April 2018.

On a final note, the essay and poem are literary siblings. Both pieces feature the life and stories of my dear, late father-in-law Jim.

The Middle Stage

I am working on being more comfortable with uncertainty. And there is no better exercise for such work than being in the middle of an essay. Many things in my life, take parenting, I cannot give up. Writing, as a whole, is something that I must do in order to be more fully myself. But one essay, that's something I could abandon. I could walk away from this particular pile of pieces and move on to something new and fresh. Staying with this essay requires flexing a different set of muscles, finding my ability to stay in the midst of something through which the path is still uncut.

I thought this piece was close to being done. I thought I would cut apart the draft and insert the newest sections into the essay; I thought they would complete the circuit. But sitting among the segments, I discover that I am smack dab in the middle of the process. I am no longer sure where to begin the essay or how it should end. I have discarded sections that used to be key to its integrity. I am so overwhelmed  that I lay down and drift off for a few minutes. Then I sit up and sip coffee and stare at the slips and slivers of paper that refuse to yield. Minutes grind by. My back begins to ache. My coffee cools in its cup. And then I remember what this silence, this elongated moment seeming to lack forward motion, has to offer. 

Potential. The potential to push beyond the borders of what I already know. I stretch my limbs and begin again.