Thanks for pausing as you zip through cyberspace, that “notional environment in which communication over computer networks occurs.” (Who writes those definitions?) The reality is that I’m here in my office and you’re wherever you are. Trey, our rescue Sheltie, is sleeping under my desk because that’s what dogs do when they aren’t chasing squirrels, barking at school buses, waiting for a Milkbone or rolling over for a tummy rub. (Not a bad life.)


This used to be a kid’s bedroom. Transforming it into an office did not make me a better author, but it made me feel like a real one. Prior to here, I had an old desk in the middle of the playroom, which is what you get if you’ve had three babies in four years. When they trotted off to school, I upgraded to a private office between the furnace and a wall of storage cabinets. Finally, a room with a view—through a linden tree on the left, a sunburst locust on the right and flower gardens beyond.


I’d love to share a bit of my Writerly Life—two projects, actually. Maybe one, or both, will connect us, if only in cyberspace. (If your memory’s short, refer again to the definition above.)


She Taught Me to Eat Artichokes — A Story of Friendship

Back when we were raising children, we accepted the reality of losing grandparents and others of their generation. But the notion that we might lose a friend, a contemporary, was foreign. Until our neighbor Karen was diagnosed with cancer. Collectively, all of us waited for her to be cured. When that didn’t happen, we waited for a remission that would never end. We did not consider she might die—until she did.


From our loss, Artichokes emerged—a tender story of two women becoming friends. Any two women. Anywhere, including Karen’s dining room on a winter’s evening. The first course was artichokes. “You may think you’ve had the best the plant has to offer,” she had said. “But actually, the best is yet to come. When you’ve peeled off all your petals, you’ll find a treat. A surprise. It’s the heart of the artichoke. The gift of the plant.”


That evening Karen gifted us with a metaphor to live by: Just as a shared artichoke slowly reveals its heart, so, too, can time and effort turn an acquaintanceship into the tender treasure that is friendship.


The Artichoke book that touched thousands has been out-of-print for more than a decade. My project now: to bring it back on the market.


The Women Who Had Me — A Memoir about Adoption

This is a work-in-progress, but then isn’t everything? My first home was an orphanage crib, a necessity since the unmarried birthmother was one of those girls who went away, returning shortly as a much wiser young woman, sans baby. At nine months, I was adopted. That made a kid different, although having buck teeth was way worse. As a matter of fact, adoption didn’t play much of a role in my life until adulthood, when I decided I wanted all of my health history and my birth records unsealed. Such aspirations began weaving themselves into a memoir about my journey. Along the way, I met one of those girls who went away back then. And another of those girls. And another. Each baring the weight of her own worthy story. So worthy that some of them are settling in among my own chapters. I’ll keep you posted on where this writing journey leads me.


Iowa Summer Writing Festival 2015

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