I. The cornfield in early June, while we pressed seeds into earth with our heels to inspect the foundation of a home where the family was murdered. We fall silent in the fading light.

II. Under city lights, you teach me to drive a manual in the mall parking lot. We are young, best friends in love, and we can only laugh when I kill the engine again. And again.

III. On the Mississippi River bluffs, the smell of weed drifting from the giggling teens nearby to where we watch the sunset burn copper in the windows of Minneapolis. I should have said it. No, it’s best I didn’t.

IV. Outside this transatlantic village, marching in like voyagers, like mavericks, like people coming home for the very first time.


Image credit: Erica Murriel Davis

Dear Diary: August 2014

dd August 2014Good ol’ August.

The truth of the matter is that basically all I’ve done in August is write and revise. At times I have felt like Truest was going to kill me. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster; sometimes I’m so pleased with the work I’ve done and sometimes I feel just sick over it. I’m in a group of debut children’s and YA authors (the Fearless Fifteeners), and many of them also feel this same way. I’m SO incredibly grateful to not be alone in this. The road to publication has been much more difficult than I ever imagined.

That said, I’m back in therapy. This time for “adjustment disorder with anxiety” as opposed to OCD (so that, at least, feels good)– and my therapist believes we can tackle the panic and anxiety that’s been clawing at me since November. I already adore her.

Other fun things? I experienced the Minnesota Fringe Festival for the first time! And two of my best friends are pregnant for the first time– each of them are having a little girl!  Also, the new students moved into Northwestern on the 22nd, so that feels good: my office works hard all year to recruit a smashing new class to our university.

It’s been a hard– but good– month.



Writing Tip Wednesday: Show Up.

Hear, hear! My laptop’s desktop even says, “Butt in seat.”

Inside My Worlds

Do you want to write a novel but are waiting for inspiration to strike? Maybe you have that idea but are struggling to keep motivated? Maybe you have the idea and motivation but are struggling to find the time to write?
Here are a few quotes from writers on inspiration and motivation that might help:

“Writers who wait for inspiration before they decide to write are generally known as hobbyists. Working writers-those actively writing and growing in their craft-must write whether the muse is “in” or not.”
– Kristi Holl.

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.

“I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired to write at 9 o’clock every morning.”
– Peter De Vries.

“Write even when the world is chaotic. You don’t…

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20 Life Lessons Since College

life lessons since college1. Acting like a know-it-all in college is silly.

2. On this green earth, I will always be a work in progress.

3. There are so many more shades of gray than I ever imagined.

4. Grace, grace, grace: be generous with it, both for myself and for others.

5. Love is messy.

6. Carefully choose which hills are worth dying on.

7. Quit pretending like you don’t have issues and start working through them.

8. Everyone has issues.

9. I am good company, on my own.

10. “‘No’ is a complete sentence.” (Anne Lamott)

11. Boundaries are amazing.

12. Craigslist rocks if you’re patient enough.

13. Start saving money immediately.

14. Investing in a reliable car will save you a lot of time, money, and hassle.

15. Get a great mattress. And memory foam.

16. Paying extra for a garage is absolutely worth it (in Minnesota).

17. Get the rice at Chipotle.

18. Treat yo’ self.

19. You will absolutely not win the contests you don’t enter. Enter, ask, risk.

20. Freedom begets freedom.


Image credit: Unsplash, modified by me

OCD: Am I Bitter?

Let me tell you, I have drunk my fill of bitterness over OCD.

When you’re twenty years old and have a tortured soul, an imprisoned life, a mind that won’t stop, and a heart that’s broken– and when you doubt that any of it is redeemable– bitterness feels like the only weapon in your arsenal.

But when you’re thirty-two, and you’ve been shown grace and favor and freedom and healing, when you’ve experienced rest, when you know that pain had a purpose, there’s just nothing in your rescued life that wants to hold onto that knife.

And so you open your hand.

At least, I did.



Image credit: Christian/Mr.C90