I’m from Iowa, the part where the Mississippi goes east and west, which accounts for my geographical challenges. I grew up with a sibling who was both developmentally disabled (only we didn’t call it that) and mentally ill, and had a first marriage that nearly killed me. Along the way, I knocked off two English degrees, a master’s in library science, and an MFA in writing poetry. A decade in Colorado left me longing for mountains, but when I left that marriage, I came back to Iowa, where I raised two splendid children, one of each gender.
I am a writer of poems, essays, plays, and segue-filled letters. I know every writer hauls out Joan Didion’s dictum about writing “to find out what I think,” but that is, indeed, what I do. (Or as Louis L’Amour put it, I write fast “to find out how the story turns out,” only the story is my life so it’s always a cliffhanger.)
Although I am by no means a stellar cook, I really love following recipes and creating things that taste good, especially dishes that require esoteric ingredients like seaweed, tamarind paste, fish sauce, dried Turkish apricots, and preserved lemons. (And I understand these are not very esoteric anymore.) I read cookbooks as literature, and I believe literature would be much improved if it contained instructions for building a sailboat just like the one in which Frog and Toad mess about, or a pattern for the outfit Clare, the time traveler’s wife, is wearing when Henry first shows up at the Newberry Library. If I read about a complicated but delicious dish, I think, Don’t tell me I can’t make that right here in my own kitchen! And I do. I might only make pita or floating island or croissants or from-scratch chai once, but by god, I make it.
I could make a bullet point list of my religion, my political party, my addictions, my phobias, my cravings, my regrets, my plans, the names of all the men I “slept with,” every single thing I’ve subject myself to in the pursuit of a life free of chronic migraine, why I always want to go to Austin again, and countless other things, but I would like to write at length about those things, one of these days, so you will find all of that here, sooner or later.