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Writer + Teacher + Editor

A story is a negotiation between what might have been, what is, and what still could be. You tell the story of who you are with your every breath. You become the stories you tell.

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Outside, cars navigated the curve in our road, headlights sweeping in wide arcs across the pavement. I watched them pass, a steady stream of stories I would never know. All the while, my grandmother’s love for me was right there in the love I felt for my son. His heartbreak had summoned it.


Nineteen is a liminal age. Absent a chance to define ourselves, other forces stand at the ready to do so for us—family members, cultural traditions, career trajectories.


How would it shape our sense of Henry David Thoreau if we acknowledged that he appears to share many traits associated with people with autism?


All the people you could have been had you chosen differently—they haunt the bookstore alongside the person you became and could still become.

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In 2001 Steve Edwards won a writing contest. The prize was seven months of “unparalleled solitude” as the caretaker of a backcountry homestead along the Rogue National Wild and Scenic River in southwestern Oregon. 

Well aware of what could go wrong two hours from town with no electricity and no neighbors, Edwards was surprised by what could go right. In prose that is by turns lyrical, introspective, and funny, Breaking into the Backcountry is the story of what he discovered: in a wild place, each day is a challenge and a gift. 

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So it’s a big step for me to allow that not all of my memories — even from the dark times — are traumatic. That trauma isn’t the only story. That some nights, in deep despair, instead of crying I heard owls.

What kind of comfort was there in confronting the things that hurt you? The times you’d been cruel or the victim of cruelty? What could possibly be gained by diving into the question of why you wanted the things you wanted?

Thich Nhat Hanh sees the whole world in a single sheet of paper: The clouds that held the rain that watered the trees that became the paper are there. The sunlight shining on the forest. The air all around.

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