The Battle for Belonging

At night these mostly bare walls with fresh paint echo more than they used to, bouncing each memory of the past six years back through my unquiet mind. The crickets and tree frogs sing a melody that is as commonplace to me here as the call to prayer and honking cars was when we lived […]

Selling Out by Settling Down?

Like Belle, I never planned to live a provincial life. I, too, wanted “adventure in the great, wide somewhere.” I wanted it more than I could tell. But today we bought a house. An ordinary, provincial house with a two-car garage and a Whirlpool dishwasher. As we walked out of the title office, giant trees […]

The Middle of the Wilderness

In the dreaded five minutes of saying hello to my neighbor every Sunday, I know we’ll come to a point where I’ll be asked the questions, “What brought you here? Why did you move?” I give them the one second answer to why we uprooted our lives in Las Vegas to move back to Southern […]

Finding My Place, One Avocado at a Time

I do not yet know how to belong to a place. It always happens in the in-between space of small conversations, the way the light hits just so, or the accumulated miles where your route “home” becomes something you can do in your sleep. It happens when what was “different” from “there” instead just “is.” […]

Finding Home

In October of this year, our family will celebrate the fact that this home is the place where we have lived the longest together. The bar is low: our record is only four years and ten months in one location.   My husband and I started our life together in a tiny basement apartment near […]

Ink, Blood, and Tears

I got off the bus at my new school and saw the parking lot filled with cars. This was nothing like my former crowded, noisy, urban Philadelphia high school with the dark stairwells and constant police presence. I’d never seen so many Ford Tauruses in my life. Some even had monograms on the doors. I […]

Holding My Words

“I don’t know what I think until I write it down.” Joan Didion   Tonight I get to write in a quiet house. I can’t remember the last time this occurred. There are seven of us living in this house, ranging in age from six to eighty-five. There are days there are so many words […]

Books as Soulmates

Books are like soulmates— friends who meet us at just the right time and connect to our souls more deeply than we had anticipated. They teach us, help us, inspire and shape us. Madeleine L’Engle says, “Stories are able to help us become more whole, to become Named. And Naming is one of the impulses […]

The Birth of a Book

Several weeks ago, I had my first conversation with a literary agent. A real literary agent! She had contacted me, inviting an introductory phone call, and I was just beside myself with excitement. I spent hours researching her and her agency before gathering questions and talking points for our call. When it came time to […]