listening to children
writing in notebooks
walking in forests
hearing cats purr
sleeping in tents
I don’t like:
walking into spiderwebs
eating water chestnuts
advertising to children
biting popsicle sticks
(Note: My list of likes is a lot longer than my dislikes, which is the way I think it should be.)
When I was a child in Vestal, New York, our home was surrounded by fields of chicory, goldenrod, teasels, and Queen Anne’s lace. My sister Heidi, friends, and I made new forts each summer, pressing down flowers to make flat spots for hiding. In winter, we’d pack snow forts around our mailboxes, and I would also play in my closet, pretending it was an elevator. I collected shells, autographs, stuffed animals, and stickers, and made puppet shows, circuses, and crafts. My parents loved us “no matter what,” and we always knew that.
From cookies to poems, I was and am always happiest making things. The feeling of a hat growing from a strand of wool or a poem growing from a page of cross outs holds for me a twinkle of magic. There was nothing…and now there is something…and I made it! Making books feels extra magical because so many people work together, and what begins as just words on a page becomes something new as it is touched by agent, editor, illustrator, designer, and so many talented hands.
My growing-up years were filled with playing basketball, running cross country, and acting in plays. After graduating from Vestal High School, I lived for a year in Denmark as a Rotary exchange student and then studied English and teaching at SUNY Geneseo and Teachers College, Columbia University. I loved teaching fifth grade when I was younger, and after our children were grown, I returned to the classroom again, this time to teach wonderful fourth graders at Parkdale Elementary, both in-person and remote. It was a gift to be a “real teacher” again, especially during such a tough time in history, but as I missed writing, I stayed only one year. The kindnesses and lessons I learned from my students will forever be tucked into my heart.
Today I live in Holland, NY with my husband Mark and occasionally, our three young adult children: Hope, Georgia, and Henry. Our old farmhouse is bordered by field and forest, and we like to laugh and share books we love. Our home is not full of TV shows and video games, but we are well entertained by each others’ stories and projects as well as the antics of our dogs, cats, and wildlife all around.
Having been a notebook-keeper for many years, I write (usually in black pen) in many places: at my roll top desk, lying sockless in front of the heater, on my bed, or outside on a blanket or the flagstone path. For me, though, writing does not always mean making marks on paper. Sometimes my writing time is simply thinking time: daydreaming about a word or a line or a poem - lying on our couch, driving to a school, looking out the window at birds on a suet cake.
I am grateful for writing as it has been an excellent teacher to me. Opening my heart and mind to “whatever comes” is great fun and very surprising. The serendipity of discovery perfectly balances the hard work of revision, and I often find myself wondering what my pen will write and then looking forward to tinkering and cutting and beginning again.
Thank you very much for visiting my site. May the joy of poetry and words find you everywhere you go!