Introducing “Hearth,” a back-page, first-person essay for Oregon writers

Bring your deep relationship to home, a love for everything about nesting, and a funny, thoughtful voice to this new Oregon Home magazine essay section.

In a way, nearly every story is a search for home. A protagonist is forced out of a humdrum, lost existence onto a journey where she must grow and change, seek out great mentors, encounter obstacles, and arrive at that point of contentment, or at the very least, transcendence that comes after the greatest battle […]

How to set a theme for 2018

Think specific, think big-picture, then revise as needed.

Here’s something we don’t think about enough in the early weeks of January: Our themes for the year. Themes, as in literature, are overarching principles and ideas learned through life experiences. Think Shakespearean here: Ambition, Love, Generosity, Man vs. Wild, Gratitude, Creativity, Loving Kindness, the list can go on and on. Themes are the takeaway, […]

How I got my dream job using the Dreambook Planner

A little goal setting can go a long way.

I’m not exaggerating at all with the title on this one. I got my dream job last December, and I have the Rituals for Living Dreambook Planner to thank, at least partially. Here’s how it happened. At the beginning of each year, I meet my bestie, the poet Stephanie Lenox, for a “Board Meeting.” A […]

The MVP (Minimum Viable Product) for Book Authors

What it is, why you should build one, and how it can spread your big, beautiful project.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to set the stage for the release of a book I am writing, an 80s memoir about houses. The bulk of my proposal for this book is finished, but I find myself  digging into the section about author platform and thinking (and over-thinking) the many ways I […]

A Writer’s Cure for Insomnia

Sometimes it is not the opposite of the thing but the thing itself that is the solution.

I’ve had my fair share of bouts of insomnia. In some ways it marked the end of childhood for me, knowing I could no longer just fall asleep wherever, whenever.  Insomnia is the writer’s curse. It is a situation common to people who spend their waking hours imagining what-if’s and following their thoughts on long […]

That time I took 15 years to write an essay

The reason for memoir is the space between who you were and what you are now.

So here’s a story that basically encapsulates what it means to write memoir. My family has this zany ritual of visiting open houses but never actually moving. It emerged a lot from our love of spaces and more than a little from our long-held belief that life would be better if yada yada [insert your […]

The unexpected benefits of forgetting to save your work

I wrote. It disappeared. I wrote again.

The other day someone sent me one of those stories where a writer ran back into a flooding building to retrieve his laptop because it had something like a 200,000-word novel stored on it. The first thing I did was shake my little finger and say to myself: “Come on, man, Google Docs!” But even […]

Top tips for photographing Oregon ghost towns

Photographer Sheldon Traver his approach to finding life in dead places.

I’ve got a new story out about Oregon ghost towns and thought I’d check in with my friend Sheldon Traver about the best way to photograph them. Sheldon’s a professional photographer, so when his daughter was ready to do a senior portrait photo shoot, he jumped at the chance to photographer her at some of […]