I’m a new FT English Faculty member, and I’ll be teaching English classes, meeting with students, and doing whatever else I can to support the school.
Tell us a little about your professional background.
I’ve been teaching since I was a teenager. I’ve taught horseback riding to kids and adults, yoga to Boulderites, Spanish to elementary school kids, infant care to new mothers, life skills to adults in transition, and English/writing to students at Columbia University, Yeshiva, the New York Institute of Technology, Baruch College, the Cooper Union, Notre Dame, Edmonds Community College, Hugo House, and, in about three weeks, EvCC!
I love the science and the art of teaching, and I’ve served in faculty development positions at most of the schools I’ve taught at. Most recently, I served as Co-coordinator of Faculty Development at Edmonds, where I learned a lot about the amazing 5-Star Team and EvCC’s role as a leader school in cutting edge pedagogy.
I’m also a passionate writer. My first book of poetry, Halve, was selected by Dan Beachy-Quick for the Tupelo Press Berkshire Prize, and my work has appeared in AGNI, American Letters & Commentary, At Length, Chicago Review, Colorado Review, DIAGRAM, Fourteen Hills and elsewhere. I’m a newcomer to fiction-writing, and I’m very excited to have a debut story forthcoming in Tin House in a couple of months and a draft of my very first Great American Novel being read by literary agents now.
What was your most memorable job? Why?
When I was in college, I worked in home health and hospice care, and the patients and families that invited me into their homes absolutely amazed me. I’ve never forgotten how they made space in their lives for suffering and sadness without losing their love for one another or their ability to carry on with the ordinary business of everyday life.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I try to start my day by 4:00 so that I get a couple of hours to write before my nine and four-year-old get up. Then we do the school-prep and school-run routine, which, once you factor in sock-selection in the house and song-selection in the car, takes approximately one million minutes. Once the kiddos are dropped off, I come to campus and get to work prepping, teaching, and meeting with students. After-school-time works the same as the morning in reverse, with personal aspirations about exercise and home improvement interspersed with extracurricular activity runs, homework supervision, and the relentless nightly project of dinner and bedtime. That leaves about an hour and a half after the kids go to bed during which I aspire to do many things, including bond with my spouse, but I most often fall asleep about twenty minutes into a TV show that I’m “really going to make it through this time.”
Describe yourself at 12 years old.
Purple glasses. Seasonally-themed braces. Floral leisure suits obviously picked out by my mother. I had a faint hope that having a horse made me cool, but it was pretty much undermined by anxiety over the fact that I had no way to figure out who the Red Hot Chili Peppers were. (Oh horror of being a tween before the internet!)
What is your favorite meal/ snack in summer? Favorite summer beverage?
My summer menu is probiotic-themed. Favorite food is Greek yogurt, mixed berries, and granola—in mixing-bowl-sized quantities. My favorite summer beverage is kombucha. Last year, I made a cottage industry out of brewing my own, but my family revolted at the kitchen being overrun with mason jars of bacterial yeast.
What would be the title of your autobiography?
Hmmm, choosing titles for my future memoir is one of my favorite schticks, but it almost never gets laughs, so I refuse make that mistake here!
What is the first concert you attended?
The Counting Crows at Red Rocks. We had tickets, but inexplicably jumped the fence to get in.
What is your vacation spot in the summer months?
I grew up spending summers in the small town my family is from in Central Maine. My folks recently fled to Florida, so the camp by the lake is gone, but for me the phrase “summer vacation” will always mean jumping off a wharf into a lake.
What are you reading right now/ what was the last book you read? Are you participating in any reading challenges?
I’m reading Louise Erdrich’s amazing LaRose and Martha Nussbaum’s Political Emotions: Why Love Matters for Justice (look out, ENGL& 101 students, some of this one is coming your way!). The fact that I’m not sure I know what a “reading challenge” is makes me wonder if I’m qualified for my job… If there’s a Book It for adults, I’d like to know about it. I’d do it in a heartbeat for the Pizza Hut personal pies.
What one food do you wish had zero calories?
I want to say something more surprising than chocolate cake, but…
Where is your hometown? Were you born and raised in the same place?
I was born outside of New York City, but spent most of my childhood in California, Arizona, and Colorado.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Here! I’ve hit the officially and happily boring part of my life where I like where I am and what I’m doing and would love to have everything stay more or less the same. We live in a beautiful spot in Brier in my kids great-great grandparents’ farmhouse and this position at EvCC is more or less my dream job.
What do you like to do on your days off?
Writing, reading, yoga, playing with my kids. I’m also always up for any adventure that’s a minimum of forty-five minutes away from home.
Do you have a favorite quote/ piece of advice?
Hmmmm…maybe Ginsberg’s “first thought, best thought”? I actually think it’s terrible writing advice, but I love it for everything else. It reminds me to be easy in the world, leaving the worrying to my responsible, generous, and overworked spouse.