Storytelling is the driving force of my life. Sharing them is how I think we tell each other what it's like to be human and I can't get enough of reading them, seeing them on film and onstate, and telling them. I've learned the art and craft of storytelling from working as a journalist, business writer, but the best story hours of my life have been the ones I spent sitting around with other writers, in my MFA program or various writers groups, discussing elements of craft.
Wigilia: The Polish Christmas Eve Feast that Helped Me Find Home
Belt Magazine, Dec. 21, 2018“Wigilia, which translates to “vigil” in English, is the epic Polish Christmas Eve feast. A solemn, sentimental celebration, it lasts hours and includes twelve meatless courses, featuring mushroom soup, carp, herring, rye bread, pierogi, sauerkraut, gołąbki (cabbage rolls), honey vodka, and desserts like kołaczki. It’s a tradition my refugee grandparents brought with them when they immigrated in the 1950s to a neighborhood teeming with Polish churches, delis, and bakeries. Other than their children, my grandparents had no U.S. family, so it connected them to home." Read online...OR view the pdf.
"Illiana" essay in Rust Belt Chicago: An Anthology
Belt Publishing, Feb 26. 21, 2017My essay, “Iliana” is included in 2017’s Rust Belt Chicago: An Anthology. I’m in amazing company: Editor Martha Bayne assembled a stellar batch of writers including Aleksandar Hemon, Zoe Zolbrod, Kathleen Rooney, Kevin Coval, Eileen Favorite, and Bill Savage. The book’s journalism, essays, fiction, and poetry explore how Chicago's "foundation of meat and railroads and steel" makes for a complicated political and cultural ecosystem. My contribution is about decades spent living on the Indiana/Illinois border, and between two places. Buy online...
I Quit My Job to Spend More Time with My Dog
The Dodo, Web Essay, June 2016A fun ode to my beloved dog and how adopting him helped me conquer work-burnout. "I realized I desperately needed a "break" — more quiet moments with my beloved new dog and my frazzled mind. Instead of more, I felt a strong need to do less, to slow down." Read online
Post-Election Essay on Refugees, Immigrants and Statelessness
Medium, Nov. 21, 2016After the 2016 election, I had a lot of thoughts and feelings about my country, my refugee grandparents and immigrant/vulnerable populations overall. I wrote this essay in a day. “But the specter of my grandmother’s imprisonment in a forced labor camp in Leipzig (this 1943 photo is of her at the Hasag Altenburg camp, wearing a “P” marking her as Polish) and my grandfather’s time in the British army never left our family’s sense of ourselves. My grandmother had pride about Polish music, traditions, and customs, but talked openly about her four years in the camp; her time in solitary confinement, and brother in the Resistance being shot on the street and his body left there for days as an example to others who dared to resist." Read online...OR view the pdf.
How Dark the Corners
Proximity Magazine #5, 2009Over the course of a summer, a teenage girl yearning for escape from her hometown falls in love and encounters death. Read
THE2NDHAND Issue 14, February 2004Sensory-laden vignettes that revolve around the elements. Read
Featherproof Books's Triple-Quick SeriesA very short, off-the-cuff story about family at the holidays, published in Featherproof Books's Triple-Quick Series, a mobile app featuring 3-screen stories, 111 words per screen, that was available via iTunes.
Ode to Purgatory
THE2NDHAND Issue 24, February 2004Flash fiction based on overheard conversations at the Chicago Cultural Center. Read
THE2NDHAND, May 2009A short piece written for a Dollar Store reading about a woman's experience with lucky cats, and almost drowning. Read
THE2NDHAND, January 2004This flash-fiction piece references a "women, waiting" story I read in a book about surrealist women writers and artists. Read
Quiet, August, Ten O'Clock
THE2NDHAND, June 2004A bunch of adolescent girls skinny deep at a sleepover. Read