My Next Book…

My next book features a teenager named Addie Queen. Addie is struggling – her dad is in jail for a white-collar crime, her boyfriend is acting weird, her mom is stressed out, everyone at youth group seems to be fake and her few times of peace are while practicing her violin or with her little…

A Very Special Interview…

I often get asked what my family members thought about my memoir Float On. I wrote of some pretty personal family experiences in it that many people wouldn’t share, especially with strangers. For me it was important to tell the truth and be open about experiences that I had been through that I had hidden…

A Letter I’ll Never Send

Dear Dad, I don’t remember ever writing¬†to you when you were alive, not even when thousands of miles separated us. We didn’t have that kind of father-daughter ease of communication and that’s ok. I’ve made my peace with the fact that both of us were doing the best we could. The truth is, writing this…

The back-to-school rituals

I’ve been thinking about routines lately, especially as summer is winding down and I’m anticipating my daughters returning to high school. My oldest will be a senior! (little Emma will graduate soon!) The routines have changed a lot since they were little. Thankfully there are no more diapers but I often spend most of my…

A return to Topeka

I don’t remember who first noticed the nests – two of them, huge and a couple of stories above our heads. These were no nests that you sometimes see on the sidewalk fallen from the trees of my east Lawrence neighborhood; these reminded me of the ones I’ve seen from a distance on my paddle…

Self Care

Anthony Bourdain’s suicide took my breath away. Restaurant work consumed my life for almost twenty years and when I read Kitchen Confidential and The Nasty Bits, I was blown away. And then his television life – it all seemed almost unbelievable. Look, someone got out of the kitchen as a writer! And such a damn…

My Dad’s Ashes

Once I became a mom I realized that the reason why my own mom was the only one who could ever seem to find anything in my house growing up was that she was the only one who ever actually looked. So even though she wasn’t trying to find them, leave it to my mom…

Thank you readers

I am preparing to teach a workshop on blogging at the Lawrence Arts Center. I love the freedom I have as an instructor there to develop ideas for classes. I wanted to lead this class because creating a blog was instrumental in helping me find my voice as a writer. And I have you, dear…

Checking coat pockets

When I was a little girl I thought I would be a ballet dancer for a job. Apparently, you could get money to go to class and perform and that seemed like heaven. When I decided at age fourteen not to move away from my family to Kansas City to study dance full-time there, I…

Everything

“I want everything,” I found myself saying to the friendly Delta flight attendant. Because I can fly standby for free (thanks to the perk of having my stepdaughter Lauren as a Delta employee), I often find myself sitting up front on the plane. One thing about me is that I am ridiculously motivated by free…