“You can be a drunk, you can be a survivor of abuse, you can be an ex-con, you can be a homeless person, you can lose all your money or your job or your husband or your wife, or the worst thing of all, a child. You can even lose your marbles. You can be standing dead center in the middle of your failure and still, I’m only here to tell you, you are so beautiful. Your story deserves to be heard, because you, you rare and phenomenal misfit, you new species, are the only one in the room who can tell the story the way only you would.”
~ Lidia Yuknavitch, “The Beauty of Being a Misfit” TED talk

Life is a crazy, messy, beautiful, often tragi-comic thing, isn’t it?

I wonder if your summer has been a bit like mine–more chaotic than usual, with an acute awareness of the struggle playing out in the world.

Just outside the window as I attempt the July-August balancing act of parenting youngish kids while running a business, the world seems to be losing its mind.

What’s trending on social media and being discussed on the news? Insanity.

On a personal note, my dad has been very unwell, mentally and physically, since the spring. I spent last week with my parents trying to be helpful but feeling like I was failing in every area of my life–as a daughter, parent, wife and the normally trustworthy person my clients depend on for getting things done well and on time.

Maybe you’re feeling this way right now, too. Or you have felt this way: like you’re just barely keeping up, or are falling dreadfully behind–and no matter what you do to try to just keep going, Life has other plans.

I found the opening quote for this newsletter while searching for something else: a TED talk about truth and writing. I came across Lidia Yuknavitch’s TED talk instead. Her insistence there is beauty as we stand dead center in the middle of failure, and the importance of story for we “rare, phenomenal misfits”, felt like the right thing to share. The hopeful truth in this writer’s story, right now.

Among the chaos of the summer of 2017 I did write a craft article on truthtelling for Hippocampus magazine. I love it when artists tell the story behind a song, work of art, or piece of writing, so I wrote this article as the “story behind the story” of my flash essay, “Shame Shame”.

I share it with you here to kick off a series of newsletters on truth and writing I’ll be sending next month (when you’ll next hear from me) in the hopes it might inspire you to dig deep–then deeper–into the truth of your own stories.

Until then I offer a few e-course updates and quotes I hope will help you keep writing through the summer–and through chaos–until we meet again!

Keep writing, Writers. More than ever the world needs your stories.

CNF Outliers 2

After completing CNF Outliers some of my students have expressed interest in a second course on CNF’s experimental forms–such a great idea!

I’ll be getting in touch with former students about what “Part 2” might look like. I would love your thoughts on how I could make a second course as interesting and valuable as possible.

Expect to receive a poll in your inbox in the near future where you can share your ideas!

Grief and Loss E-course Update

I’m a wee bit behind with my plans for course development this summer, but still hope to launch my grief and loss online course this fall.

Thank you to everyone who responded to my call for course beta readers last month. I’ll be getting in touch closer to the course launch with a special offer to thank you for so kindly offering your time.

5 Quotes to Keep You Writing through the Chaos

I do believe chaos is a gift—not the kind you want to unwrap on your birthday, but the kind that tests and ultimately transforms. Transformation is at the heart of story–for many of us, quite possibly the very purpose of our writing.

Thanks for reading, Writers. I hope these quotes offer encouragement if you’re writing your way through a particularly chaotic time!


“In chaos, there is fertility.”
~ Anaïs Nin

“Chaos is what we’ve lost touch with. This is why it is given a bad name. It is feared by the dominant archetype of our world, which is Ego, which clenches because its existence is defined in terms of control.”
~ Terence McKenna

“In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.”
~ Carl Jung

The creative process requires chaos before form emerges.”
~ Marilyn Ferguson

My daughter, Paula, died on December 6, 1992. On January 7, 1993, my mother said, ‘Tomorrow is January eighth. If you don’t write, you’re going to die.’ She gave me the 180 letters I’d written to her while Paula was in a coma, and then she went to Macy’s. When my mother came back six hours later, I was in a pool of tears, but I’d written the first pages of Paula. Writing is always giving some sort of order to the chaos of life. It organizes life and memory. To this day, the responses of the readers help me to feel my daughter alive.”
~ Isabel Allende