I was born to a truck driver and homemaker in rural Michigan. My mom read to us for hours on end and carted us to the library each week. My dad bounced me on his knee while he practiced guitar, sewing the seeds of artistic obsession. A consummate middle child, I spent years struggling and failing to understand each person’s perspective, which is probably why I can’t help writing about one reality from multiple points of view.
My first job consisted of picking vegetables on a local farm, where I labored each summer morning until I had amassed the grand total of $185.37. Eventually I upgraded to waiting tables at the Cracker Barrel, where I scribbled astute observations of human nature on the backs of decaf liners, only to discover years later that my scribbles were not astute at all.
I studied classical piano until my senior recital in college, which found me sobbing in the green room because performance actually scared the ever-living piss right out of me. Shortly after my nervous break-down, I moved to an intentional community in Comer, Georgia, where I taught English to refugees and discovered the Mennonites, whose faith struck me as humble, just, and consistent. I’ve been trying to emulate them ever since. My work in Georgia also led me to Lithuania, where I taught for a year at a university on the Baltic Sea.
At some point between vegetable-picking and moving to Europe, I fell in love with the keyboardist for a jam band out in Colorado. Four years later, after Scott discovered that I didn’t like Phish as much as I’d pretended, we got married anyway. He remains my best reader and best friend, and now we tend a small homestead in Waterloo, Michigan, where we raise our children, cats, chickens, vegetables, and an extraordinarily lazy beagle named Flannery.
It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I gathered my courage and made writing a daily practice. Since I started, I haven’t stopped, apart from the 8-month stint when my second child was born and I was so psychotically tired that I didn’t even have the mental presence to cry. Between kids, I earned my MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts, a program that I recommend wholeheartedly to everyone, regardless of age, ability, or interest.
Out of Esau, my debut novel, is forthcoming from Counterpoint Press. My work has been nominated four times for a Pushcart Prize, recognized in the Best American series, and published in Midwestern Gothic, Ruminate Magazine, River Teeth, and Hunger Mountain, among other places. I serve as co-editor of River Teeth’s Beautiful Things series, as well as spontaneous editor of my children’s sexist picture books.