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 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…

And the winner is…

Congratulations to Stephanie Netzer! Her essay “Mary” won the Sandra Moran Writing Scholarship. I’ve had the pleasure of having Stephanie in class in person. I admire her willingness to go deeper with her stories and the courage she shows in being open to looking at her life. Her commitment to telling the truth will be…

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…

How do we remember?

I’ve been thinking about memory a lot lately. Like, why do we remember some things and not others? I can recite how one of my customers took his coffee twenty years ago but fail to recall that we are out of dog food as I’m driving by the store. And why do the painful occasions…

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…

First-ever Guest Post by Molly Murphy

I’ve admired the paintings of Molly Murphy for a long time. I’ve bought small ones for gifts and splurged on a large one for my living room. But I’m not going to share her visual art today (although you should at least check out her website to see it), I want to share her words….

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…

Spring Cleaning

My house has a lot windows. I mean, a ridiculous amount of them, but they help create the modern look that Dan Rockhill designed as an addition to contrast our old stone house. The effect is striking – I love it. Cleaning these windows is no joke. But with a beautiful weekend of weather and…