NOVEL COMING IN 2021

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 4:28 pm on Tuesday, November 26, 2019

I can FINALLY announce that my first novel, Right Back Where We Started From, is forthcoming from Blackstone Publishing in 2021. Ahhhhhhh!

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Midwest Trip 2019

Filed under: Personal — Administrator at 4:15 pm on Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The cool thing about owning a camper van is that ordinary trips can turn into epic road trips. So when I found myself needing to go to Michigan for work last summer, we decided to take a month-long road trip across country.

Some of the things we saw included Hemingway’s birthplace, Frank Lloyd Wright’s first house, the biggest candy story in Minnesota, and Maud Hart Lovelace’s house, as well as:

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The Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah

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The Grand Tetons in Wyoming

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Chicago

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A glass bottom shipwreck tour of Lake Michigan

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And lots of campsite, sometimes accompanied by weird Michigan sunsets.

It was an educational trip. Michigan is beautiful. Lightning bugs, snapping turtles, and cardinals are magical creatures. And I really tried with Wisconsin cheese, but it’s just not that good, y’all.

I still haven’t been to every US state. Still too see: Maine and Alaska.

2019 Discovered Awards for Emerging Literary and Visual Artists

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 2:12 pm on Friday, November 22, 2019

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I’m beyond honored to announce that I’m a recipient of the 2019 Discovered Awards for Emerging Literary and Visual Artists, produced by Creative Sonoma and funded by grants from Community Foundation Sonoma County and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Along with nine other writers and artists, my work will be featured in an exhibit at the Museum of Sonoma County, which is opening tonight, November 22, and runs through February 22. An excerpt of my current novel will be featured as part of the exhibit. (Read more about it here.) If you’re in town, I hope you’ll check it out.

Essay: The Houses My Father Built

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 9:23 am on Friday, November 15, 2019

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For Curbed, I wrote about my childhood for the first time.

My earliest sense memories are of construction: the smell of freshly sawed wood, the sound of hammering. I remember being in an airy, half-built room, picking up bent nails and putting them in a bucket. A photograph shows me, a toddler in pigtails, by the cement foundation of our house. My dad is beside me, in a white T-shirt and jeans. He looks young and healthy—there’s no outward sign that he’s disabled. It wasn’t the first house he would build for his family, nor the last. My childhood is shaped by a pattern of my father building us a home, selling it, and building another.

Read the rest here.

Hawaii Trip

Filed under: Personal — Administrator at 12:47 pm on Monday, November 11, 2019

In October, we went to Hawaii! I’d never been before. We went to the Big Island and stayed for a week at a lovely resort. I couldn’t get over the sunsets.

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Nature there doesn’t disappoint. For one thing, there are black sand beaches:

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For another, there are so many animals. We went kayaking and a pod of dolphins were swimming around us. A baby dolphin flipped on its back and showed us his belly, then they all swam under our boat. We also saw manta rays as big as coffee tables, mongooses, tons of birds, and sea turtles:

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Kona coffee is a thing there. It’s overpriced, but tasty. We went for a tour of a coffee plantation and it was interesting to learn how they harvest and process the beans. I’d never seen a coffee tree up close before.

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In general, the food was delicious, especially the fruit. I tried rambutan, passion fruit, dragon fruit, apple bananas, honey cream pineapples, and many others. I’m going to make Hawaiian sweet bread for Thanksgiving.

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The Big Island has five volcanoes, three of them active. We took a helicopter ride over some of the volcanoes, which was very exciting. I’d never been in a helicopter before.

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They took us over the volcanoes so that we could look down into them.

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Of course, last year an enormous volcanic eruption wiped out a large neighborhood on the island. They flew us over the damage and showed us pictures of what the area looked like only two years ago. It was shocking to see.

Before:

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After:

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So add us to the long list of people who love Hawaii. Someday we’ll go again and visit one of the other islands.

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You can see more Hawaii pictures on my Instagram.

Notable Essay In The Best American Essays 2019

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 12:13 pm on Monday, November 11, 2019

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I was delighted to discover that my essay, Bohemian Tragedy: The rise, fall, and afterlife of George Sterling’s California arts colony was a Notable in The Best American Essays 2019.

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The essay originally appeared in the Poetry Foundation. You can read it here.

Joshua Tree National Park

Filed under: Personal — Administrator at 9:00 am on Sunday, November 10, 2019

Way back in February, we took our RV to Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California. It’s one of the most surreal places I’ve ever been, like walking inside a Roadrunner cartoon.

At one point we were walking down a canyon and pieces of white fluff started sweeping around us. It took a moment to understand it was snow because the sun was out and the sky above was blue. In the morning, a light dusting of snow covered all the cacti.

Pictures:

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Story On Front Page Of The Washington Post!

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 7:56 am on Saturday, November 9, 2019

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Last week, the Kincade Fire tore through Sonoma County, where I live, and 200,000 people were evacuated. My town of Petaluma became the first stop for evacuees. I interviewed some of the evacuees for The Washington Post. Hearing their stories was a moving experience, and I’m still in shocked that this keeps happening to my beloved home.

Then the story was on the front page of The Washington Post! Wow! I didn’t expect that at all. Heather Kelly and Scott Wilson also worked on the story.

Here’s the article in full. Give it a read!

Hypatia-in-the-Woods Residency

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 12:09 pm on Friday, October 25, 2019

In September, I had the honor of spending two weeks at a writing residency hosted by Hypatia-in-the-Woods in Washington. During that time, I stayed in a cabin called Holly House and worked on my current novel. Here’s the living room:

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There was a little loft upstairs, and I spent most of my time sitting on the bed with my laptop.

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I got so much done. I’m grateful to Hypatia-in-the-Woods for the opportunity to focus on the work I most want to be doing.

When not writing, I ran into some nature, like this praying mantis:

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And this dome-like spider web:

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And the Mima Mounds National Preserve. No one knows what made these mounds–my favorite theory is prehistoric gophers.

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This being Washington, there was lots of water around:

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All the sea shells on the beach were covered with barnacles. Here I am being horrified about it on Instagram:

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It's fine it's fine nothing disgusting at all about this

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I Was On A Podcast About Jack London

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 11:46 am on Friday, October 25, 2019

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Speaking of Alta, I was also on their podcast talking about my article on Jack London.

Listen here!

(The above picture makes me laugh.)

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