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Putting words together in powerful, pleasing, and persuasive combinations is my great joy. I could never NOT write! I journal, I correspond, I write on scraps of paper while waiting at stoplights and on napkins while waiting for my coffee.
My mother was a fourth grade teacher whose passion was spelling and grammar. My father was a newspaper journalist and city editor who, for twenty years, wrote a semi-weekly column of personal musings (long before blog posts). I followed in the literary footsteps of each of them.
All the twists and turns of my career have focused on people who live in the margins: I’ve served as a hospital chaplain, ministering to the ill, aged, and dying. I’ve written about all of them. I’ve been a massage practitioner tending to homeless people on the streets and under city viaducts. I’ve done in-home caregiving, been a Medical Advocate for people in crisis, and taught aging people how to think through and complete the writing of their Advance Directives. All these locations comprise margins of our culture, filled with people our society would rather not see. I write poems and essays about the gifts, the pathos, and the wisdom to be found in our social margins. I’ve also served as a Certified Professional Guardian for Island County, and a Guardian ad Litem for the superior courts of four counties. Here, too, writing was essential as I presented each case to the Superior Courts to help Judges make decisions in the best interests of incapacitated people.
My first book, published by She Writes Press in October 2015, is Meeting in the Margins: An Invitation to Encounter Society’s Invisible People. In this book I encourage the reader to explore the generosity, the joy, the grief, and the reciprocity to be found in the very places that our culture teaches us to avoid. My second book, published by Finishing Line Press in May 2019, is Mortal Beings, a collection of poems celebrating the stories that emerge in the margins.
Now that I’m retired from my professional career, my legacy work is to teach my Whidbey Island community how to advocate for each other, and how to clearly state their healthcare values and wishes in their written Advance Directives and Durable Powers of Attorney.
When I am not assisting with Advance Directives I am, of course, writing – shaping stories of our social borderlands into new poems and essays. I hope to have a second collection of poems published in 2020.
Listen to a Recent Interview
I was recently interviewed on the Booklovers’ Cafe feature on KPTZ-FM radio. Cris Wilson talks with me about poetry and street-level outreach of a very different style. LISTEN NOW >