Category Archives: Other Stuff

October: A Month of Travel Reflections on Nola Studiola

I’m guest curating Nola Studiola this month, a New Orleans-based collaborative project for artists founded by the fantabulous Alison Barker. Biweekly posts will cover snippets of the creative life on the road (okay, and rants). First up: the sensation of hanging out in an actual house for the first time in months. Here’s the teaser blurb:

There are two ways to look at the world when you’re a permanent traveler. (Yes, I know that in a sense we are all permanent travelers, through time and life, but I’m not going there until I hit an existentialist moment. Which should be any day now.)

Read more.

13 Things I Learned in 2013

New Year’s resolutions are nice, but life doesn’t cycle in neat periods of 12 months at a time. Rather than listing resolutions at the head of the new year, I tend to push the reset button when life demands it, or when  procrastination happens to disappear as a viable option. Plus, if you sign up for a gym membership in March, you miss battling the New Year’s resolution crowd for equipment.

The idea of the year in review, however, I like. Each experience brings a lesson. Each lesson becomes a point on the compass I draw in the sand for the coming year. Many of these insights are deceptively obvious. Some will change. I’m glad that I got to live them this year, understand them with my full being. And I’m grateful to everyone–friends, family, frenemies, enemies, acquaintances, buddies, colleagues, clients, strangers–who helped bring forth and nurture these experiences.

Here are 13 things that experience taught me in 2013:

1. The simplest goals take the most persistence to reach.

2. Each dream, when pursued, comes with its own conditions. These conditions, in turn, demand that you change as a person in order to pursue—to live—that dream.

3. Patience is letting go of the way things should be.

4. If you change your habits in one area of your life, that change spills over to other areas like rings in a pond.

5. Sometimes you have to trust the process more than the people. Maybe always.

6. Dance is an enlightened way of moving through space and time.

7. Good mentors are like gold. They help you find the stepping stones to your dreams, and make sure you keep walking in the right direction.

8. A short story can take a year or two to finish writing. Along the way, it unravels worlds, teaches you the craft of writing, forces you to look at regions of your own psyche that you don’t dare explore in everyday life.

9. Capitalism takes advantage of free will. There’s always someone who’s willing to be paid less—or willing to pay you more.

10. We live on layers of sand, gravel, stone and manufactured materials. This is called landscaping, and the Earth is always taking it back for herself.

11. Climate disasters are normal now. In the long term, it is the community that repairs the damage, to the land it lives on and to its own psyche.

12. Technologists really do want to build robots that take over the world, and are actively doing so. Questions of human will and freedom are currently less regarded than pride (of invention) and profit.

13. Most often, on a given day, 20% of people are trolls—either virtual trolls or real ones. 80% of people are nice. You can’t change the trolls, but you can thank—and be among—the nice ones.

Happy 2014!

Colorado Floods: How to Show Support

I’m excited that Salon chose to publish my op-ed on the Colorado floods about the indifferent reactions I experienced, initially, to the news. Media numbness aside, the Colorado community has come together in amazing ways during this disaster. First responders, friends, family, neighbors, volunteers, nonprofit workers, businesses: THANK YOU for continuing to jump in and help. You’re making recovery happen.

Since it’s now clean-up time, I wanted to list some helpful resources.

Andi O’Conor has excellent tips on how to help disaster survivors.

If you can offer hands-on help and donations, the Boulder Flood Relief Facebook page is an awesome resource.

If you have a room in your home or can take a pet, visit the Colorado Flood Temporary Homes Facebook page.

Here’s a list of organizations that are accepting donations.

GoFundMe is a great site for crowdfunded donations; fundraising efforts for Lyons and Jamestown are already underway.

The Colorado Office of Emergency Management has statewide updates.

Please let me know what else to add, as I know there are tons of relief efforts right now.

And thanks to everyone who checked in!

Thank You, Tattered Cover

I was honored to be able to speak at the Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver last week. Here’s a really blurry mobile picture of the talk. Bottom line, the Tattered Cover is one of America’s most regal bookstores, with a spacious events hall that has hosted everyone from Buckminster Fuller to Barack Obama, and it was a real treat to be up there sharing my Colorado experiences with readers.

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I can’t tell you how happy it made me when audience members approached me afterwards to share their enthusiasm for the state and all it has to offer. For the first time, I experienced the magic that catalyzes between an author, her material and a receptive audience. A writer’s work is, after all, a living creation. Our words exist to be heard. In the right conditions, the author not only delivers words, but transports her audience to a new place and time.

I think the Tattered Cover realizes the sacred nature of this transmission. From the well-worn signing desk in the events hall to the careful stewardship of each reading event, our grand dame of Colorado bookstores continually sets the foundation for writers and readers to bond.

I am humbled to have experienced the Tattered Cover in this way. I come out of it with a new appreciation and reverence for readers, and a deepened love affair with the bookstore.

Thank you for attending, and thank you for reading.