Essay in The Offing

I’m delighted to share that my first ever creative nonfiction piece is up at The Offing! (It’s a little scary, too, to be so vulnerable on the internet. Being a writer is strange.) Huge thanks to Eddie Bruce-Jones for the thoughtful editing, and to Steffan Triplett and everyone working behind the scenes at the magazine. The Offing has published so much excellent, daring writing—take a moment to browse their archive.

Photo by Annie Spratt
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New Story in Alaska Quarterly Review

I’m thrilled to have a short story in the current issue of Alaska Quarterly Review! Many thanks to Ron Spatz and the entire team at AQR. I’m reading the issue now, and it’s a pleasure and an honor to have my writing appear in such excellent company. You can order print or digital copies of this issue and previous ones on the AQR website. And did you know the magazine hosts a reading series on YouTube?

Residencies, Conferences, Grants, and Resources for Writers Who Are Parents

When I was a parent to a very small child, I couldn’t figure out how to fit in much writing, or exercise, or sleep, or a million other things. I would daydream of an expanse of unbroken time, vaguely recalling what it had been like to concentrate for more than fifteen minutes on any one thing. Sometimes, I wished for a second me to hold the baby for five minutes. Or, sleep, a solid week of it to catch me up, so I could become fully human again. I wished for a room for only writing, but I didn’t apply to any residencies—not even when my child was older, talking nonstop, no longer helpless—though I’d found residencies magical before becoming a parent. The hurtles seemed too hard to clear, starting with the sheer amount of time many programs offer (often a full month), far more time than I could bear to spend apart from my child (or afford to take off from work). On top of that, there was the daunting task of finding the extra childcare needed in my absence.

Lucky for all writers bent on continuing the species, there are more and more programs that give time and space to parent-writers in ways that may work better for more families. There are other opportunities, too. This is a roundup of what I’ve found. (Details change, and I’m not keeping close track, though I do update this list occasionally. Please refer to each program’s website for the most current information.)


  • SPACE at Ryder Farm Family Residency: A week-long residency that welcomes artists and their children. Children must be between the ages of three and twelve, and will take part in nature-focused arts programming while parents are working.
  • Marble House Project Family Residency: “Marble House Project offers one session per season in our residency program that is family friendly. Accepted artists can bring their spouse/partner and children. Each family is provided with housing, studio space and food in a communal atmosphere. Art and ecology programming and other physical and enriching activities are provided for the children (aged 3-14) weekdays…”  
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New Story Online at Epiphany Lit Journal

A flash fiction story of mine called “Dogs Who Break My Heart” is up at Epiphany! During a period when I was feeling bewildered and exhausted by the tangle that is my maybe-novel, I turned to working on this flash piece as a breather. It was such a relief to write a really short story, something I could easily hold the whole arc of in my mind. Many thanks to editor Diego Medina.

Write With Me!

I’m teaching an online fiction writing class this August, and I’m really looking forward to it. My own writing routine is sometimes disrupted by the complications of daily life, even when there is not a pandemic raging. I’ve got a few tricks and tools I rely on to get back to the page and inspired once more. In the class, we’ll focus on generating new story ideas, developing material that intrigues us, and generally getting unstuck and inspired once again.

The class will meet three times via Zoom, and proceeds will go to support Philadelphia Stories, a gem of a magazine that supports local writers and artists in a multitude of ways. Find out more and register here.

Washed Out, “Get Lost”

A belated brag on behalf of the husband: he made this music video for Washed Out. It’s been a while since he’s worked on his own animations. He puts most of his creative energy into projects for work lately, and telling wild, serialized bedtime stories to the little one. Juggling family, paying work, and art-making is tough, and we clearly haven’t figured it out yet.

On Being Derailed

A few weeks after Donald Trump’s inauguration, I went to a party at my neighbors’ house. I didn’t know any neighbors beyond hellos, and I went to this gathering alone. My husband was at home, putting our two-year-old to bed. I liked the hosts, their warmth, their humor. The bookshelves in their living room were full of novels. On a top shelf was the book I was currently reading: they were people who bought literary novels in hardback. When the host asked after my own writing, I admitted I was working on a novel. This was sort of true and sort of not. In the immediate aftermath of the election, all I found myself writing were angry missives to Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey, letters to the mayor, protest signs.

My neighbor asked the obvious question: what is your novel about?

Many writers dislike this question, even when the person asking is well meaning and interested. Pinning down a narrative arc, or a theme, can become an obstacle to filling blank pages or shaping a draft. All the best bits of my own writing emerge out of a messy muck. But, I wasn’t hesitating because muck is hard to summarize.

I really didn’t know what my novel was about. For a moment, I couldn’t remember it at all. Not one character, not one scene.

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Marguerite McGlinn Prize for Fiction

I won an award! I’m over the moon that Robin Black, an author whose work I love, has chosen my short story, “The Hothouse Lounge,” for the Marguerite McGlinn Prize. And how fitting that this particular story should find a home in Philadelphia Stories. It’s the first story I’ve ever set in Philadelphia, this city I live in and love.

This painting by J. Rossi (titled Trees in Orange) was the cover image for the 2016 fall issue of Philadelphia Stories.