To My Elected Officials

I’ve been pretty overwhelmed by feelings of fear and hopelessness since…Sandy Hook? Becoming a mom? Orlando?

Today I wrote the following letter to my Representative, Senators, and President.

***

My family recently moved and this week my 3-year-old son started at a new daycare, which we refer to as “school.” Last night, after his infant sister was in bed, he cuddled with me on the couch while watching his last episode of Blaze and the Monster Machines before his own bedtime. I told him I was happy he liked his new school. He said, “I do too. It’s safe.”

I could not agree with him.

His daycare has all the usual anti-abduction protocols in place at the doors and there’s high fencing around the play yards, but none of that would protect him from a crazy person who can easily and legally purchase an assault-style rifle. Weapons of war are so easily obtained and used to massacre people in our country that it feels like we live in a combat zone. Just to think of it now makes my chest tighten and my heart beat fast.

Anything can happen. We will never be 100% safe anywhere. But we can do something to improve the odds in our favor.

My life, the lives of my precious children, and the lives of all my fellow citizens are worth more than those ridiculous high-powered rifles with high-capacity magazines.

I know guns. I grew up hunting and still own several rifles. I think it’s my familiarity with gun safety, with the seriousness of these tools, that makes me so extra offended by the availability of weapons like the AR-15 or Sig Sauer MCX. These are truly monster machines that have no place in our free and open society.

Please help us. No one is immune to this violence.

***

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Red Lights in Pittsburgh

My family moved to Pittsburgh this spring. After 16 years in rural PA, I’m psyched. I am visiting all the things and plan to bring you reviews of festivals and venues and bookstores, oh my! 

But first, there’s this.


We were sitting at a red light.

Husband: That is the creepiest eagle I’ve ever seen.

Me: What? Wher…OH MY GOD!”

Husband: Is it a cyclops?

A few days later, sitting at a red light in an area called Polish Hill, I saw this. And I mean that there is dedication to a joke. Someone has blocked the sun from ever entering their room just to make this joke.

Love it.

Work in THE HOPPER


Super psyched to announce my essay “Burn It, Bury It, Send it Downriver,” is in the inaugural issue of The Hopper from Green Writers Press out of Brattleboro, VT.

Order your own copy here or here.

The mag is beautiful in structure and design. The writing is good, the voices fresh, and the press is worthy of your support.
Working with editors Jenna Gersie and Rose Alexandre-Leach reminded me that I love having an editor. When I wrote professionally for 5 years I had an editor and daily feedback from my in-house clients. I want my writing to connect with the audience, and no one gets it there faster than a good editor. Rose asked me to chop off the opening 3 paragraphs off this essay. Then she told me why. I thought about it for a few hours, reread the piece, and knew she was right.


This essay is another connection back to Barrelhouse’s conference in D.C. in April 2015. I attended a non-linear essay session led by Mike Ingram. I had a few scenes/thoughts sketched out regarding the weird things people do with their trash in rural PA where waste removal isn’t a given. Ingram’s talk and exercises led me to the central narrative of this essay. Like, I had the “oh yeah, that’s what it’s about” moment while considering my idea during his session. Outlined the narrative right then and there. When I started fleshing it out in my next writing session, it just felt good.