Recent publications:

“How Homesteading Helps Me Write”

Lit Hub


“A Meditation on Slaughter”

Modern Farmer


“8 Books that Wrestle with the Complexities of Religion”

Electric Literature


April 23rd, 2010,” a micro-essay

Past Ten Journal


“Why I (Still) Believe,” an essay

Awst Press


“The Mail-Order Bride,” a short story

Midwestern Gothic


“Purple Roses,” a novel excerpt

Vine Leaves Literary Journal


A Pacifist’s Reflections on a War Hero

The Mennonite


These Things Should Not Happen, Hunger Mountain 19:  The BODY issue

To read the full essay, click here.


27 Reasons Why I Can Never Be a Writer

McSweeney’s Internet Tendency


Guest Column:  Victim Offender Conferencing — A different kind of justice

Ann Arbor News, April, 2014


Counting Apples

Ruminate Magazine, Issue 30:  The Body


An Open Letter to Truckers from Your Adopt-A-Highway Volunteer

McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

To read the letter online, click here.


Beautiful Things

River Teeth:  A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative, Volume 15, Number 1, Fall 2013



Had it not been for the vainglorious crimson cardinal strutting up and down the branches of our lilac tree, I might not have noticed the discreet female who landed on a nearby branch and pretended to be interested in something else.

She reminded me of myself at sixteen – plain but curious, aloof, the kind of girl who imagined much more than she actually lived.  When he flitted off and she followed, I had an urge to call after her, assure her that, in a few years, she would be grateful.


Pictures of Pictures

Midwestern Gothic, Issue 8, Winter


Helen took pictures of other people’s pictures so carefully it looked as though she had taken them herself.  Most of her friends found it disconcerting, but since Helen was in her late 50’s when the fixation began, no one saw fit to stop her.  When visiting girlfriends who had traveled outside the Midwest, she would request an album and settle herself on the sofa, holding her camera in one hand and flipping through the plastic pages with her other until she came to the travel shots.  Her friends’ international travel was limited to the European continent, so Europe was what Helen learned to relish most, lingering over tours of museums, castles, and gardens—photographic jaunts through countries she would never see with her own eyes and honestly didn’t care to.  Travel itself struck her as too expensive, too uncomfortable, too confusing.   Besides, she only half-jokingly told her friends when they inquired, why travel yourself when someone else could bring back all the evidence for you?

Helen’s friends expressed concern, of course – concern that Helen was neglecting the joy inherent in her own life, concern over whether she found her own single, childless life so unbearably boring by comparison.  But the concern that trumped all others was that Helen rarely took pictures of pictures of them.  Her friend Miriam mentioned this in passing when Helen glided over a flattering close-up of Miriam and then chose, two pages later, not to photograph Miriam and Harold’s 40th anniversary photo.

“What am I, boiled ox tongue?” Miriam said.

Helen simply laughed.  “I can see you whenever I want,” she said, then zeroed in on a picture of the Mediterranean Sea.  Most of the shot was water and sky, but along the left edge, Harold’s belly protruded into the shot, a dark anonymous ball deflating against the blue.


Flowers for Osama

Center for Mennonite Writing Journal Volume 3, Number 5 – the Poetry of Peace

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