I was an international newsroom journalist (Tokyo, London) when I felt a strong call to give it all up. I was being called to something bigger, but I didn't know what.
Raised in rural Missouri, I left this life, earned a journalism degree, and moved to Tokyo. No one I knew had ever been abroad. I left rootedness for air. I left family and tradition for floating above a culture so different from my own. I left thick bloody steaks for thin glistening sushi. I left thick oak doors for fragile shoji partitions. Carpet for tatami. Beer for sake. Boisterousness for subtlety.
There is no better mirror for seeing the self than living in a place where there are no cultural cues, where you do not fit, where even the language cannot interfere.
After working as a journalist in Tokyo, after working in a newsroom during the death of Emperor Hirohito and the cultural sea change that wrought, I spent a year traveling Southeast Asia — India, Nepal, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia. When I was a little girl of 7, I remember telling myself: One day I’ll travel the whole world. Hiking the Himalayas in Nepal, a camel trek in the Thar Desert in India, hitchhiking the Australian outback – it was a time not easily labeled, nor easily forgotten.
And then there was London. London - I fell deeply head over heels in love with her. I worked hard to establish myself as a journalist. I was working at London newspapers when the Berlin Wall fell and when Princess Diana died. My most intense memory is the smell of thousands if not millions of dying flowers at Kensington Palace. People came to pay their respects to Diana and left flowers at the palace. An acre of flowers piled on top of each other — the smell of giddy perfume and putrid rotting. Sweet. Death. That smell will stay with me forever.
I loved my crazy, jet-setting life that was disconnected from rural Missouri, but was connected to the entire globe. I loved it so profoundly. But then came the "call". I was meant to be doing something else. But what?
It all began to unravel. It shattered into a million pieces. I had to go home. I had to find out who I truly was.
What followed were many years of self-exploration, Wretched, painful years of confusion, despair and heart-break. I just wanted my old life back. I was having a break through or break down — whatever it was, everything I defined as mine was taken away from me. I had to start from scratch and build. But build what? Who was I?
Slowly, I started writing fiction. Slowly, I remembered visual art. I used to win awards for my art as a child but hadn’t touched it in more than a decade. I started to paint again. I also slowly painfully started to sit down daily at a computer and write fiction
I started teaching writing. Students came up to me after class and asked for one-on-one writing coaching. A book coaching business was born.
Today, as a novelist, visual artist, and book coach, I live by the core values of creativity, authenticity, purpose, and contribution. I am working on a series of five novels: Earth, Air, Fire Water, Ether, a five-book hero’s journey through a world rocked by climate change. How can we find ourselves or even remain sane in a world where the very climate has been driven insane? Earth, Air, and Fire are completed, all three won Independent Publishers awards. Water is in progress.
As a visual artist, I built a yurt art studio in the woods, and created one painting a day for a year in 2014 and 2016. Some of these paintings have sold, but still I have 600, 9 x 12 paintings hanging from clothes pins in my yurt. I've had shows and am starting to get into galleries. As a book coach, I have helped thousands of people learn to write. I have clients from Singapore to Seattle, writers of healing memoir, magical realism, self-help books, and film scripts. Clients have been featured in the Financial Times, and have won national awards.
I am deeply grateful for this new life of fiction-writing, art and creative service to others.
Fire - Independent Publishers Gold Medal for Visionary Fiction, 2018
Air - Independent Publishers Silver Medal for Visionary Fiction, 2016
Earth - Indpendent Publishers Gold Medal for Best Regional Fiction -- Midwest, 2015
National Society of Journalists, First Place, Best Regional Feature Pacific Northwest, 2000
Dozens of journalism articles published in newspapers and magazines around the world. Tokyo's Daily Yomiuri newpaper, London's Independent newspaper, Seattle's Post-Intelligencer newspaper and the Seattle Weekly, among many others.
Novels Earth and Air of The Elemental Journey Series, published by Seattle's Booktrope, 2015. Fire self published.
Short story "Antique Clock," Traps (anthology), Massachusetts, USA.
Short story "Queen Caw," Madison Review, Wisconsin, USA.
Short story "Cat got your tongue," Stringtown literary journal, Washington, USA.
Spiral Gallery, member, Estacada, OR, 2018.
RAW art show, juried, group Show, Portland, OR, November 2017.
Photography, Group Show at the Art Institute of Seattle, WA, 1998.
Solo Show, Q Cafe, Seattle, WA, 2002.
Group Show, Photographs, Jean Juarez Spa, Downtown Seattle, WA, 2006-2007.
Dirty, Smelly, Noisy exhibit, Western Avenue Studios, Lowell, MA, 2008.
City of Haverhill Artist of the Month, November 2010, Mayor's Office, Haverhill, MA
Outsider Art Show, juried show, December 2012 Haverhill, MA
Education and Experience
Graduated cum laude University of Missouri, School of Journalism.
A decade of international journalism experience, serving as a features editor for a major Tokyo newspaper, a travel writer in Asia, and an editor and journalist for London dailies like the Independent and the Financial Times.
Art of Storytelling - writing teacher/coach for 15 years - memoir, novels and self-help books. www.artofstorytellingonline.com