I draw the world with stories and pictures stitched together from my real life. To do that, I think deeply about the intersections of what we need from others and what they need from us as well as the intersections between history and now.
At the moment, I’m drafting a picture book and planning to focus on more of those in 2019 with Jody Hedlund’s 12X12 Challenge.
Recently, I worked on a middle grade historical fiction set in Nihonmachi, or Japantown, in 1930s Tacoma during the decade before the incarceration of that community in WWII. With a sprinkling of magical realism, the spirit of Tacoma’s hill narrates the story of the three children who struggle to find belonging in a world that doesn’t make it easy. Fortunately, they have the hill and many others to help them find each other and that true belonging.
For 25 years, I worked with people learning English and many of those years I had the privilege of working with students from Japan. My experiences with those students altered the way I see the world and drive my fiction as well as the discoveries I’ve made about immigrant life in my communities.
In my teaching today, I work with students of English from all backgrounds. Currently, I am most interested in those who struggle because of brain-based learning differences like dyslexia, and I explore this topic on my blog along with a other non-fiction pieces about how I find art and wonder in the every day. Often I use art journaling to untangle the toughest knots in my life–a practice I share here and in workshops in my community.
Critters and Creative Extras:
I live with my husband, son, three cats, two dogs, and a parrot. Yes, we are over pet capacity. But the cats are great writing companions, the dogs are good for walks after writing, and the bird makes a great dance partner. All of them make excellent story and drawing material. So we’ll keep them.
My mom, an incredible artist, passed away in the spring of 2018. I share some of her work here as a way of keeping her memory alive. She once said she worked to show the spirit of the flowers she grew and loved. Personally, I think she nailed it. Many times over.
My favorite food includes dark chocolate. Almost so dark it’s considered baking chocolate–but not quite.
I often pretended to be a dolphin as a child. This was my favorite game while growing up on a lake and learning to swim before I can remember.
Tuesday nights you’ll find me playing along with the Puyallup Valley Community Band on my clarinet. Making music with 25 to 50 other people balances out the solitary writing gig quite nicely.
My oldest son is 19 and off to college this year. The three of us left at home are starting to adjust. Here we are on a fantastic trip to visit the grown up kid.