WHAT I OFFER
Editing, critique, and one-on-one accompaniment for writers of memoir, creative nonfiction, or essays.
WHO I AM
I’m a self-supporting, working, author, columnist, and essayist of 25 years. I’ve written of addiction, money, food, gardening, the arts, and St. Thérèse of Lisieux. For eight years, I’ve written a weekly arts and culture column, and a monthly column on an unsung saint. For my history, sensibility, and cri de coeur approach, this INTERVIEW is a start.
WHAT QUALIFIES ME
EXPERIENCE: I’ve published thirteen books, including top NY-agented, unagented, and self-published.
TOP EDITING/STORY SKILLS: I’ve written and recorded over 30 slice-of-life commentaries for NPR’s “All Things Considered.” I’ve published memoir, essay collections, creative non-fiction, blog posts, spiritual reflections, columns, and features.
I’ve taught at the LA Writer’s Lab, hosted my own writing workshops, and shepherded dozens of works of nonfiction, memoir and poetry.
SUCCESS: I’ve been featured in the Best American Spiritual Writing series, and received numerous “Notable Essay” citations in the Best American Essays series. My memoir Parched was named by The Fix as one of their top ten addiction memoirs. My book Holy Desperation (Loyola Press) won “Book of the Year” (2018) from the Association of Catholic Publishers. I’ve received numerous awards over the years from the Catholic Press Association , includding Frist Place for the last two years running in the category Best Weekly Arts and Culture column.
WHAT DISTINGUISHES ME
What makes me unique? What’s my p.o.v? What’s my “system?”
Writing for me is a vocation. It’s a call of the heart. It’s a way of life that brings to bear every dimension of the human person.
Yes, we need to make a living. But my experience has borne out that if we put the spiritual first, the material will follow.
By spiritual, I don’t necessarily mean religious (though I happen to be Catholic). I mean driven primarily by love, not primarily by love of money, property, prestige and success.
I have always written about what moves me, what I want to celebrate and admire, not what the market might demand.
Writing, or really any art, is our creative response to suffering. Memoir almost invariably springs from a crisis or trauma. Have I sufficiently worked through my experience so that I have something universal to offer? What is my story? How am I different at the end of it than I was at the beginning?
Working through those questions is the joy I want to pass on with my books, columns, and editing/mentoring.
To that end, you can find some of favorite memoirs HERE.
WHO’S MY IDEAL CLIENT?
A. Someone who reads. How can we possibly expect to write a decent book if we don’t love to read: widely, voraciously, eclectically?
B. Someone whose goal is joyfully to participate in the sorrows of the world, as Mother Teresa put it. Someone who believes that, all evidence to the contrary, the light shines in darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.
C. Someone with a sense of humor.
WHAT I BELIEVE
That books, art, and music have the power literally to save people’s lives–because they saved mine.