Seven of my stories appear in Wide Awake. Every Week, a dazzling collection of “aha moments” by writers from all walks of life. Click here to read one short piece and a description of what it was like to write these “seven easy pieces.”
I’m honored that my story, “The Assertive Woman,” about a moment of extreme naïveté, is part of the anthology Times They Were A-Changing: Women Remember the ’60s & ’70s. You can read the story here.
My journey as a writer includes writing in depth about the religious community and family I grew up in and coming to terms with their profound effects on my life. This writing path has taught me invaluable lessons about crafting creative nonfiction and writing powerful personal stories.
Raised in Eastern Pennsylvania in the rule-bound Old Mennonite church of the 1950s and ’60s, I knew early on I would never conform. Prohibitions against television, as well as makeup, short hair, and jewelry for women marked me as different from my public school classmates. I felt painfully separate.
Chafing against parents and religious constriction, the dream of freedom became my obsession.
I left home at 18, ashamed of my “plain” upbringing and determined to shed all evidence I had ever been Mennonite.
But one does not walk off so easily into a new life.
A journey of transformation
I write about the journey required to recover from religion, thaw frozen emotions, and navigate a troubled stepmother-daughter relationship.
When I started writing I felt daring and ready to reveal the vulnerable parts of myself. As chapters piled up, I imagined certain family members, even friends, reading parts of the story. I felt a secret relief I had no completed book to show them.
When my first story was published, I knew it was time to “come out” as an ex-Mennonite and as who I am now. The readiness to do so was a sign that significant inner work and a major part of my journey had been completed.
Here are links to some of the published stories. Please feel free to contact me with comments or questions. I’d love to hear from you!
“Attending to Love.” A tribute to my favorite grandfather, and a story of transformation.
“Makeup.” A defiant teen and artist-in-the-making is set on preserving her sense of self.
“The Visit.” I didn’t visit my family often after I moved away. But each time I went back, I worried about one question they had never asked.
“Stocking-Board Education.” A first-job kind of education.
“New York to California: An I Ching Travel Adventure.” Lighter fare.