I have been writing stories ever since I learned what a paragraph is in my third-grade Language Arts class. I would write during class, in the car, in my bed while I pretended to be asleep. When I was exiled to the Bad Picnic Table during recess as punishment for writing in class, I took my notebook and pen. I became so passionate about reading that once I tried to take a favorite novel into the shower with me!
Like so many authors, I lost myself in books and created imaginary worlds to sustain me through tragedy in my own life.
When I was fourteen years old, I picked up Jeanette Winterson’s novel The Powerbook, and my world changed again. In truth, that book found me. This novel opened up an entirely new world for me, one which blends beautiful language with sci-fi elements, fairy tales, romantic mythology, elegant and poetic language, and an entirely original structure. This book convinced me that I could be a different kind of author, that I could invent the forms, structures, and even the language, necessary to tell the stories I need to tell.
I began my writing career as an Intern, then Staff Writer, for the Corvallis Advocate in Oregon. There I focused on women’s stories, from sex trafficking survivors, to new mothers, to one very amazing Marine Biologist/Educator. I moved into a new position as Opinions Editor and Feature Editor of the Willamette Collegian. Here, I used my influence to raise the voices of women and other marginalized students on campus. I built a strong group of writers with ever-increasing self-confidence and the massive courage necessary to take on topics like the vital importance of Black History Month, a personal experience of the Water Warriors at Standing Rock, and an exploration of the indigenous history of Hawai’i.
My B.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies and Ethnic Studies guided me towards much of the background research that informs my memoir’s understanding of insanity, false diagnoses of women, medicalization of women’s bodies, and the silences surrounding sexual trauma. That information has helped propel me through my M.F.A. in Creative Writing at the historically women’s college Mills College in Oakland, CA.
My early mermaid pieces helped me to complete what Adrienne Rich calls “a dive into the wreck.” These short pieces were quickly published in literary journals DIN, The Mill, and Helen. This work compelled me to seek ways to weave together fantasy and memoir, a path I continued with the Best Small Fictions 2019 nominee Granny in the Forest. Rascal published an early version of what would become the introduction to my first book. A place I keep spiraling back to, the intersection of lies passed down through generations, self-imposed lies, ancestral trauma, and hard but freeing truths, is evident in my essay published in Darkhouse Press’ anthology Sanctuary, Getting Away Safe.
Finally, I began to draft my first full-length book, a memoir entitled But it Will Hurt after a line from Hans Christian Anderson’s Sea Witch, to the mermaid–life, the loss of voice, love, all are possible. And all will hurt.
I am pleased to remain connected with writing communities in Skagway, Portland, and Knoxville. My work has been influenced by workshops with Corporeal Writing and SAFTA. I will have completed 2/3 of my memoir at residencies Sundress Academy for the Arts, Alderworks, and Rockvale.
I term this book a speculative memoir, as Carmen Maria Machado calls the melding of memoir and fantasy, for its incorporation of mermaid mythology and deliberate obfuscation of the supposed obvious border between fantasy and reality. Here I hope to continue my work as a writer fascinated by the stories we tell ourselves, and the fairy tales and other fancies that break those stories apart so that we can heal.