I’m the author of two published books: The Water Will Hold You: A Skeptic Learns to Pray and The View from Below, a collection of short stories. Whether fiction or nonfiction, all my work is informed by an attachment to place, a grappling with loss, an obsession with detail.
In high school, I discovered the personal essay, a love affair that continues unabated. A private person, I’m drawn to revealing myself on the page, whether about the pain of my brother’s addiction, grappling with faith, or the dangers of inviting a man into my kitchen too soon. Since 1996, my essays have appeared in the East Bay Express, Image, Real Simple, Bon Appétit, Health, The New York Times, and Best American Spiritual Writing. More recently, I’ve posted reflections to Good Letters, the Image blog, as well as here at my own blog. I’ve begun writing a historical and personal exploration of spirituality and sex.
On the fiction front, my short stories have won national prizes and fellowships and appeared in literary magazines. I’ve also completed a novel, an excerpt of which you can read here.
I live in San Francisco with my husband and a skittish cat, and I teach writing at UC Berkeley Extension and online through the Glen Workshop. I also lead book discussions and talks, and give occasional readings.
Four joys: swimming in the rain; working closely with students on their writing; dark chocolate; the steam room at Tassajara
Four favorite pastimes I would hesitate to confess in person: Bed of Nails pose; sacred circle dancing; eating raw cookie dough; singing TV jingles from the late 1960s
Four books I love: Jane Eyre, The Great Gatsby, The Scarlet Letter, Lonesome Dove
Six stories I consider masters of the form: “Roman Fever” by Edith Wharton, “The Children Stay” by Alice Munro, “A Father’s Story” by Andre Dubus, “Barn Burning” by William Faulkner, “The Chrysanthemums” by John Steinbeck, “Break It Down” by Lydia Davis