The Indy’s readers have heard some of your most intimate thoughts, but they may not know much about you. How would you describe yourself? I’m constantly amazed, a little befuddled, and I try my best. (Or, as my husband would say, I am very trying.) When my daughter was a teenager, she stole a peek into my diary and concluded that there was nothing in there I wouldn’t have said out loud anyway. It’s still true. I’m an open book, a verbose pilgrim, and I earnestly want to connect with others because, as William Stafford wrote, “The darkness around us is deep”.
Where do you live? What do you do? I’m originally from New York but have lived for 30 years at the Hollister Ranch, where my family has citrus trees and a macadamia orchard, and I am delighted by the implausibility of that. I’m retired now but was a middle school teacher, which was great, because I am about 12 years old inside.
We always like to know how writers write. What’s your process? I am constantly documenting and writing in my head, especially when I am walking, and I walk a lot. Random memories come to me that often lead to stories, or details of the landscape, or the angle of the light. It starts with something tangible. The morning is my writing time, and I need to be in my own space.
What are some things you’ve been thinking about that may inspire your next piece? Everything I think and write about distills into a few key questions: How do we reconcile the wonder and the sadness of this world? How do we find meaning and do our best without being overwhelmed? But this morning, for no reason in particular, I remembered being on a cross-country Greyhound bus in the dismal 1970s, and a stranger put his jacket over my shoulders in the course of a chilly night, and I thought how quiet acts of kindness like that changed everything for me, and maybe I’ll write about that.