In the photo above, I was an eight-year-old kid in Canton, Ohio, enjoying grade school at Gibbs Elementary and reveling in the life of our parsonage right across the street. I loved that neighborhood -- small neat houses with roses and morning glories all abloom in summer, a place where people took walks at dusk and where you could hear a kid practicing his trumpet from an upstairs bedroom. My father's church, Calvary Evangelical United Brethren, was a beautiful brick edifice, adorned with tall Ionic columns, and the parsonage, like the marionette in the lap of a ventriloquist, was a miniature version of the same design. I roller skated and sold lemonade on the sidewalk passing by, and in the front yard was a maple tree I climbed almost every day for years. Later we would move, and move, and move again, but that house, that welcoming tree, that church, my father's beautiful voice, my mother's liveliness, the interesting lives of my older brother and sister -- all are part of the material I've been trying to translate into poetry, essays and fiction ever since.
A lot happened afterwards, of course. I eventually graduated from Kent State University, moved to California, joined the Peace Corps, came to Michigan for an M.S.W. from the University of Michigan, moved to Flint, married my first husband, returned to my roots as a writer by getting an M.F.A. from Warren Wilson College, found my way to a gratifying living as a writing teacher at the University of Michigan – Flint, experienced a complicated adult life including heartbreak and divorce, began to get happy again, found a new cross-country relationship and part-time home in L.A...well, you'll find out more by reading my work. Again, welcome to the site.