A different kind of family tree

I leaned against trees, wrapped my arms around trees, rode thick tree branches like they were horses. I swung from trees and hid in trees, and walked on limbs as if they were tightropes. I prayed to trees, I raged at trees. My half-brothers cut them down for money, and cut the bamboo too.

In my private forest, which isn’t mine, but belongs to the town, I watch this tree, and the spiral of fungi around its trunk. It might be my family tree: no hierarchy, no single ancestor, and certainly no single pattern.IMG_1614

Welcome new blog followers

So glad you’re part of this small gang! It’s a cold day here in North Florida, but still a green day.

The cypress knees in the photo below poke up out of the duckweed in a swamp near my house. They remind me of pilgrims, or refugees, huddled close to one another and looking for redemption.

Hopefully, today’s a writing day, too.

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Diving In


One of the people who reached out to me after “Hidden in a Suitcase” was published at Guernica is Carly Hoffmana Kindle Singles editor. After a good bit of back-and-forth, and some serious revision, I accepted her invitation to dive in as a Kindle Singles author. My short memoir, tentatively titled Walk Away, will be published this spring — not quite 100 pages about my journey from abused teenage runaway to up-and-coming trial attorney. Stay tuned, swimmers!

Some readers whose families had gone through struggles (prison, addiction, separation byFullSizeRender adoption) similar to the ones in “Hidden in a Suitcase” took the time to let me know they had been touched by my story. I keep their notes near my desk as antidotes for when I
doubt myself.



wynonaMy review of this astonishingly original book went live today on the 32 Poems site. Caki Wilkinson has created a world within a world within a world with these poem-bios of an eccentric woman and her art. One of the most appealing elements of the collection is scandalous word-play. Here’s a snippet from “Hibernaculum,” one of my many favorite poems from the collection:

sometimes a simile is her best shot
to see things as they are. The rotten weather
is not Wynona’s problem: like a knot,

her heart’s pulled taut inside this self she’s spun,
and, like a knot, what’s holding her together
is the energy she’d need to come undone.

Got a quirky, poetry-loving friend? Buy this book for her!

Not Far from the Tree

trees and palmettos“Adoptees all over the world live under the same curse: their bad qualities and behaviors get attributed to their birth-family genetics, and their good qualities and behaviors get attributed to the environment created by their adoptive parents.” A rant about class prejudice and misogyny in the adoption industry on Medium.