It’s 1966, March 4th, and the snow is silently falling, whispering down onto the deserted University of Illinois campus at 8 AM on a Saturday. The moment captures me in its powerful silence, the snowflakes as large as cars, perfect and whole and individually sprinkling to the earth. It’s a black and white etching of a day, the spindly trees reaching toward a grey sky, the substantial brick buildings of the campus suggesting solidity and time. In those days, I was a bereft girl, still unaware of the toll my childhood had taken on me by the absence—and the wars—of my parents andRead More →

Today is March 4th, a date that for 46 years I’ve called my “spiritual holiday.” In 1966, still encased in the rigid expectations of a girl who’d grown up in the fifties in a small town with a Victorian grandmother in the Bible Baptist belt—you can see the picture, right—I experienced a moment that lifted me from that world. I was almost twenty, and was supposed to get engaged, married, go to church, raise children and maybe teach music in the public schools. I was also someone who desperately wanted security, not growing up with either a mother or a  father. Luckily my grandmother rescuedRead More →

I knew that I’d enjoy my conversation with Mark Matousek at the National Association of Memoir Writers monthly teleseminar to discuss writing a spiritual memoir the other day, but I had no idea of the magic that would happen on the call. I’m often the one who helps to guide people to write about the darker moments of life in their memoir, and sometimes I feel that my voice is alone in the wilderness—such a point of view is not all that popular. After all, don’t we all want to just write about the happy times? Don’t we all try to avoid the dark stuffRead More →