This newsletter is about how to use writing and mindfulness to be where you are.
In this space, I’ll share weekly writing and mindfulness prompts, mini-essays about my own journey, and regular interviews with writers, teachers, artists, and others with wisdom to share. I hope this is a place that centers you and gives you space to reflect, slow down, and make art in the midst of the whirling pace of life.
Thich Nhat Hahn said, “Many of us have been running all our lives. Practice stopping.”
I struggle all the time to stop and be present in my life. When I experienced postpartum depression and was searching for a way to come back to myself, my therapist recommended I try meditation, something I’d been considering for a decade but just kept putting off. It helped tremendously. At the same time, I was writing and teaching writing workshops, and learning to use writing to make sense of my life. Over the last few years, writing and mindfulness practices have woven together to become a life raft that holds me up in the midst of anxiety and the demands of life.
Let’s be clear: I am not a guru; I am trying to figure out how to find a way forward, and inviting you along for the ride. (Non-meditators, non-writers, skeptics of various stripes: you are very welcome!)
My recent writing explores attention, parenthood, aging, the body, and the in-between spaces that are awkward and painful, often beautiful, and teach us a lot. For instance, how do you stay present (survive) when your kids are singing Post Malone’s “Sunflower” in cat voices on a road trip—the rhythms coming in various syncopations of meow meow meow meowwww? I’m interested in the ways we adapt and keep rolling when we face massive challenges, as well as the more mundane, daily difficulties of life. What are the regular practices that sustain us in our lives? I’m excited to share these within a community we will build together here.
Here is an essay I wrote for Romper, a poem at AGNI and another at New Ohio Review that dig into these questions. In the Romper essay, I write: “I want to be there, really there, when my children fall, without giving up the right to be in my own head, too. How do I do that?" That question is at the heart of what this newsletter will do: write and live into those messy, ambivalent moments.
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I’m the author of The Falls (New American Press) and Feed (Seven Kitchens Press) as well as other essays and poems. I’m a writer and writing teacher in high school, college, and community spaces. I live in Pittsburgh, PA, where I currently teach high school English by day and poetry workshops by night for the Madwomen in the Attic at Carlow University.
When I’m not writing or teaching (or hiding out somewhere scrolling and trying not to scroll), I’m hanging out with my partner, historian and writer, Nico Slate, and our two awesome kids, Kai and Lulu.
I’d love to hear from you! Please share your thoughts, questions, and ideas for people, texts, or practices you’d like to see highlighted in this space.