Blog

Creating Something From Nothing

My wonderful agent, Dawn Frederick, asked me to write about my writing process as part of NaNoWriMo. Here is a bit about how I create something out of nothing, with a link at the bottom to the original post in its entirety: — I’m skeptical of of writers who talk confidently about their controlled, repeatable […]

Coming Soon: Play Like a Girl

Coming Soon: Play Like a Girl

I first heard of Kibera Girls Soccer Academy (KGSA) in 2010. Little did I know that I would carry the story in my head and heart for the next seven years. KGSA is a free girls’ secondary school in the Nairobi slum of Kibera. The KGSA story interested me as a woman, writer, teacher, and coach. […]

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Hauling Heavy Memories

Hauling Heavy Memories

So many of us reached a tipping point this past summer with racial tension, innocent death, and the important work of Black Lives Matter. I knew it was time to take more tangible steps toward knowledge and reconciliation. Where does my power live? What is my work to do? As I addressed in a previous […]

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#30DaysFor30Girls

#30DaysFor30Girls

The notebooks are purchased. The buses are back out. It’s time for school. September is a magical month, filled with anticipation and excitement around freshly sharpened pencils and new learning. It could also be the month you decide to tangibly support a girl in Kenya to get a great high school education. Before I ever […]

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People Over Pronouns

People Over Pronouns

At the Minnesota Institute of Talented Youth (MITY), where I am lucky to teach Creative Writing each summer to brilliant 7th-12th graders, young people are celebrated for who they are. It is also a place to safely play around with who they are becoming. We intentionally ask students what name they want to be called […]

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On Reading

On Reading

A few months ago, I got edits back on a chapter I had written for an upcoming book. The editor pointed out that in three different places, the last sentence of the paragraph started with the word This. In each case, what This was referring back to was a bit unclear. Lazily, I leaned on […]

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Engineers Week_Girl Day

Girl Day!

When I was in Kenya spending time at Kibera Girls Soccer Academy, I was struck by how much the girls still struggled with math and science. Most of the girls who enter KGSA have poor skills in math and science. They didn’t receive the training they needed in primary school, and they give into the societal […]

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Cover-1b_3D

One Cocktail Napkin at a Time

Very few writers are talented, timely and lucky enough to write what they want full time and make a living. The rest of us just muddle through, carving out little nooks and crannies of space to create. In graduate school, Verlyn Klinkenborg recommended that we not wait to write until we are sitting at the […]

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Top Posts of 2015

Top Posts of 2015

Each year I look back at my blog posts, I am less and less surprised at which topics are well received. We as a society seem to need to talk about death and sex. We are getting curious about mindfulness and intentionality and defining less as more. These are things I think and write about. […]

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Crowdfunding Books

Crowdfunding Books

As I was finishing How Coffee Saved My Life in 2009, I knew it wouldn’t sell millions of copies. That was never the vision. My intended audience was rather specific, and I reached that intended audience. They appreciated the book, which was so rewarding. I still get a few notes a year from readers who recently returned […]

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A Few Gigs

A Few Gigs

  To any eye not connected to my brain, the whiteboard wall in my writing office looks a bit odd right now. It is covered in black, red, green, purple and orange marker. Most of it is code — words, names, phrases and symbols to jog my memory of an idea later, when it’s writing […]

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