Since receiving my first diary at age seven, I’ve been taking notes and today I have stacks of journals spanning the last four decades of my thoughts, rants and observations.
My humorous essays have been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, Brain Child, Down East and aired on NPR.
I grew up in a small Midwestern town surrounded by a sea of corn.
When I finally broke out at age 17, I ended up in a small town surrounded by rice fields in Gifu, Japan where I was an exchange student. I loved the Japanese aesthetic and pursued a degree in East Asian Studies in college.
Unsure how to apply my liberal arts degree, I signed up to be a Student Conservation Association (SCA) volunteer and did a stint as a fire fighter at Mount Rainer National Park and then an outreach intern at the Mississippi Sandhill Crane Wildlife Refuge. On the Mississippi bayou, I figured out I wanted to be a writer, and ultimately got my first reporting job at a local newspaper.
In my mid-twenties, I moved to New York City with plans to get a graduate degree in journalism (and, oh yeah, there was also a guy there). I lucked into a job as an Associate Editor at a start-up magazine on Asian business where I learned the trade from some legendary editors and even got to interview Roy Lichtenstein about his pop art Chinese landscapes.
New York City was a fun place to live for a while, but that guy and I decided to chuck it all and move to coastal Maine. I got a job at The Camden Herald as a reporter covering breaking stories about community bean suppers, contentious planning board meetings, and the police log.
That guy and I got married and had babies and I profiled it all in my weekly newspaper column, Comfort Food. My feminist mother and mother-in-law who bullied me for not owning a microwave gave me lots of fodder to write about, along with my worries as a new parent and the 1850s house I was trying to fix up with only literary skills. (This is The Olson House, not ours)
While raising my two children, I wrote a series of opinion pieces for The Christian Science Monitor about parenting in our fear-based, every child wins culture. I’ve recorded radio essays for NPR’s Weekend America and performed my essays at PechaKucha and other story-telling events.
After submitting stories for 13 years, I finally got an essay published in The New York Times’ Modern Love column – ironically about that guy (he thought the story was hilarious by the way).
Today, I work full-time in corporate communications, juggle multiple school carpools and write essays when my children are sleeping to make sense of all the questions, chaos and stresses women face as we try to do it all. I am writing a book of humorous essays about identity, marriage and motherhood.