I grew up in a small town on the Susquehanna River in the anthracite coal-mining region of northeastern Pennsylvania. I have been a scribbler since elementary school; in fifth grade, my essay “Our Friend the Moon” won second place in the Junior Project Competition sponsored by the Educational ABCs of Industry in Niagara Falls, New York.
Words have followed me around ever since. From the editorship of my high school literary magazine to poetry at Oberlin College. Then at Cornell University, where I tried my hand at short stories in the freshman seminar I was required to take even though I was a twenty-four-year-old junior with a three-year-old son. A decade later, I headed to graduate school at SUNY/Binghamton where I received an M.A. in English/Creative Writing in 1994.
A former university administrator, my writing has received an Oregon Literary Fellowship and the James Jones First Novel Fellowship. Recent publications include Every Door Recklessly Ajar (Cayuga Lake Books); Great Hunger (Anchor and Plume Press); Eternity a Coal’s Throw (Burning River Press); and The Hours of Us (Finishing Line Press.)
I spent twenty years in Ithaca, New York, working and raising a son, before moving to Corvallis, Oregon in 1998 with my husband, John Laurence. In 2007, after nine years living and writing among the tall trees in the foothills of the Coast Range, we moved to a house down the street from Alberta Park in northeast Portland, Oregon.
In addition to writing, I co-manage (with my husband) the Woodlawn Community Garden where we have a 400-square-foot plot—urban farming at its best. Here at home, I am especially proud of our platinum-level Backyard Habitat which now boasts a wild beehive in a bigleaf maple. And, in 2020, we finally took out all of the grass in our front yard and now have a thriving pollinator habitat, rain garden, and dahlia farm!