The Mother and Writer's Block

After twenty years of teaching writing, I think the biggest hurdle a person faces in feeling free to exist on the page (and in life) is his or her mother, regardless if said mother is still breathing. People are afraid of hurting their mothers, outshining their mothers, revealing their real selves to their mothers. People can’t write because they feel they don’t fully exist since they are still so busy trying to please mothers who aren’t even alive any more.

The Dream Posse Post #1

This is the first week of The Dream Posse and The Year of the Impossible Dreams. In order to be in fighting shape to sing with Run DMC and Aerosmith (after they say yes and after I learn to sing) I have to figure out how to 1. sleep soundly and 2. not poop my pants in public. Or anywhere.

A Year of Unreasonable Dreams

I have decided I now live in The Year of Unreasonable Dreams. I want you to ask for more than you think you deserve, more than you think you can deliver, more than you think you can handle. I want you to scare yourself. I want you to let go of the safety bar and feel the full glory of the ride. Why? Because I want to do it myself, and I need help.

Write or Die Means Fall in Love with You

I am here to tell you there is nothing wrong with you. That if you feel shame about something, in my eyes, that means you have a story to tell. And story is opportunity, opportunity for connection, for art, for beauty. For redemption. Rebirth. Mayhem. Peace.

Counting Your Marbles

I’ve come to understand that I could go crazy trying to heal from adoption. The more I listen to the stories my head tells me: your mother left you; there must be something wrong with you; maybe you can get her back if you are a good girl; you will never get what you want in life because this life isn’t even really yours, the more lost and more hurt I feel.

So this is what I have started to do: I think about where I put my marbles.


No one (that I know of) is grading or ranking your turds. Why does writing get such intense evaluation? Both are forms of creation. Neither makes you special: they are just byproducts of who you are in the world. Proof that you exist.

Being Adopted and Surrounded by Love

Once in a massage class, we were given small cups of water, and we were asked to slowly lower one finger to the surface of the water, slowly, more slowly, even more slowly. What we saw was that before we touched the water, the water reached up to touch our finger.

Kindness and Bacon

People could have left me alone when I felt busted. I could have written my book, had my breakdown, ended up by the edge of some river screaming obscenities. I know plenty of cuss words. Just ask Haley Radke. If it weren’t for the kindnesses of others, I might not be lying on this couch, typing as I hear the thrill of hummingbirds at the feeder. I might not have food in the refrigerator. I might be really, really skinny, my backbone visible through through the skin of my belly.

We Love You, Sterling K. Brown

A black child can not see himself reflected wholly in a white family, just as a black actor in a room full of white actors can not see himself wholly reflected. But we as a nation are trying, and This is Us is such an important step in the right direction. We can’t deal with painful situations if we turn a blind eye to them. We have to see problems in order to change them.

How Old Are You, Maria Alfaro?

My favorite part of the series of Trauma Release Exercises is the last part, where you lie on the floor in butterfly pose and let your legs shake. They shake because the psoas, that beautiful, holy muscle, is releasing.