About

I’m the author of two published books, The Water Will Hold You: A Skeptic Learns to Pray and The View from Below, as well as numerous stories, articles, and essays. Whether fiction or nonfiction, all my work is informed by an attachment to place, a grappling with loss, a fascination with detail.

As a young reader, I devoured fiction. In high school, I discovered the personal essay, a love affair that continues unabated.  (I’ve included links to some essays; scroll down to “Old(er) Work.”)A private person, I’m drawn to revealing myself on the page, whether about the pain of my brother’s addiction, grappling with faith, or the dangers of inviting a man into my kitchen too soon.  Since 1996, my essays have appeared in the The New York Times, Best American Spiritual Writing, Image, Spirituality & Health, Real Simple, Bon Appétit, Health, and East Bay Express.  On the fiction front, my short stories have won national prizes and fellowships and appeared in literary magazines, most recently in Pisgah Review and Arroyo Literary Journal.

I live in San Francisco with my husband and a skittish cat, and I teach writing at UC Berkeley Extension and The Grotto. I also lead book discussions and talks, and give occasional readings.

Four joys: swimming in the rain; working closely with students on their writing; dark chocolate; the flumes at Wilbur Hot Springs.

Three favorite dorky pastimes: sacred circle dancing; knitting; singing TV jingles from the late 1960s

Four beloved books:  Jane Eyre, The Great Gatsby, The Scarlet Letter, Lonesome Dove

Six stories I consider masters of the form:  “Roman Fever” by Edith Wharton, “The Children Stay” by Alice Munro, “A Father’s Story” by Andre Dubus, “Barn Burning” by William  Faulkner, “The Chrysanthemums” by John Steinbeck, “Break It Down” by Lydia Davis