Friday, December 9, 2016

Be The Ripple

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” ~~Jane Goodall
For all of you who are wondering what you can do to make the world better or to make yourself feel better or just focus on anything besides all the crazy stuff happening in the world, I give you Jenna. Like 99,166 others in the US today, Jenna needs a kidney. But this isn't just about a 31 year-old artist and writer who desperately needs an organ, it's about all the people whose lives will be changed as a result of her receiving a kidney. Her mom Karol, for one, who has been a fierce warrior championing on behalf of her daughter while at the same time celebrating all those who get what she still doesn't have: a healthier daughter. 

A rare urological defect destroyed Jenna's kidneys when she was young. Finding a match for Jenna is especially difficult because she has high antibodies. Because of this, it is necessary to find a pool of eligible living donors to increase the odds of finding a match. Jenna has blood type O, but even if a willing donor does not match her, she can still receive a kidney through paired donation, which is a “swap” between two incompatible couples. By donating a kidney to another patient on Jenna
s behalf, that donor allows Jenna in turn to receive the other patients donors kidney. Although Jenna lives in California, her donor can live in any state, and all donor medical costs are covered by her insurance.

When we help someone we often think in terms of our actions as being limited to what we can see in front of us, but what we give to one person, we give to the world. Each kidney recipient—not to mention their extended families and coworkers and friends—are affected by their loved one receiving a kidney. By helping one person, you help the collective. Each of our deeds, good or bad, creates a ripple. Beyond one’s belief in a higher power, all we have to sustain our hope is the grace of our fellow human beings to help us through our struggles. I don't have any more spare kidneys to give away, but I plan to keep throwing stones into the pool until that waiting list is at zero.

For more information about being tested to see if you are a match for Jenna, please visit the UCLA Living Donor Intake page. You can learn more about Jenna by clicking on her video, "Are You My Type?" or follow her journey by going to her Facebook page. In addition, if you would like to contact Jenna personally, you may send her an email. And you can SHARE this post because somebody out there is a match for Jenna. 

Now let's do this.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

What Are You Reading?

You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.  –Paul Sweeney

I grew up where it got cold in the winter. Dreadfully cold. Blue lips and frozen snot cold. I no longer suffer through long months of dreary weather but even here, where winter means the occasional stormy rainfall, it changes you. I notice the low light first, as if drawn from a corner of the sky rather than parading above my head like a prom queen. Then comes the cooler temps and the desire to burrow in with a good book in the early evening or bring one back to bed with my coffee in the morning. Snuggled under a warm blanket and sipping espresso,I discover new worlds to carry me through the longer dark of winter.

The more I write, the more I read. The more I read, the more I make friends with new books and authors. I used to tend to stick with my favorites like Jodi Picoult, Barbara Kingsolver, Anne Lamott, Elizabeth Berg and others. Although I still enjoy their books, I'm currently delighting in the discovery of new writers, new voices, new things to say. Or maybe not new things but new ways of saying them. In any case, I'm swimming in a sea of sentences neatly woven together to create a wave of wonderful stories. 

I'm halfway through Donna Everhart's "The Education of Dixie Dupree" and realizing our young protagonists would probably have made good friends. My coming-of-age book set in the same time period won't be released until Spring of 2018, but I can see why the author and I share the same publisher. Our stories highlight the challenges of square-pegged girls who don't fit in neat, round slots. Miss Dixie is feisty but resilient in a world she can't control. Much like I feel about our greater world these days. But don't take my word for it, get your hands on a copy for yourself. (FYI: Contains difficult subject matter but life is difficult, isn't it?)

On my to-be-read list is "Lift and Separate" by Marilyn Simon Rothstein. I chose this book for it's lighthearted humor and relatability. Not the 32-DD lingerie model part but the sudden realization that the life you imagined turns out to be just that--imagined. The real one starts where the mirage leaves off. I've only read the sample and I laughed out loud, the true sign of a book that I will most certainly enjoy. 

I have a road-trip in my near future and have chosen the book "Everything We Keep" by Kerry Lonsdale to keep me company for endless hours on the I-5. Described as a page-turner, it's exactly what I need when I want to keep from banging my head on the steering will as the seconds drag by. I've also ordered Lonsdale's newly-released "All The Breaking Waves" because the daughter has psychic qualities--another mirrored theme in my debut novel. I'm looking forward to reading both.

And finally, I've just ordered "Secrets of Worry Dolls" by Amy Impellizzeri. I'm a sucker for mother-daughter relationship stories. Throw in a little magical realism and you've got me for sure. I could use a worry doll about now, given the outcome of the recent election. Possibly a slew of them. In any case, I can't wait to hunker down with this book. 

What about you? What are you reading? Feel free to include links to Goodreads or the author's website but no sales links please. And if you like a book please do the author the favor of leaving a review. It helps us. Not just our egos, but it helps the book get more exposure. This is especially important for debut authors and newly-released books. Now pass the creamer and shhhh...I'm reading over here.

Note: This is a non-monetized blog. If you enjoy this blog please consider purchasing LOST IN TRANSPLANTATION for yourself or a friend and share these posts across social media. Thank you!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Counting Cars on US 31

A sister can be seen as someone who is both ourselves and very much not ourselves — a special kind of double. --Toni Morrison

The Internet went down today, which is a bummer for people doing important things like procrastinating on eBay, as I am wont to do when working on my novel. At least half my closet is filled with great finds purchased on eBay while avoiding the page. The items that didn't fit or that I liked on a Wednesday but found ugly on a Saturday now fill a bag in my car on its way to the thrift store. I suppose some of those clothes will end up on eBay again in the not-too-distant future. I'm not sure if you'd call that irony or synchronicity, but I like the full-circle aspect of it. 

I spend a lot of time on eBay but in all these years, I've yet to find the one item I wish I could retrieve from my childhood. Made of cherry wood with grape leaves carved into the sides, the bowl sat on a base and came with a tiny key that, when cranked, played music while it turned in circles. Our family called it the Singing Bowl. On summer nights when my sisters and I camped out in the back yard, we'd fill the bowl with popcorn before tip-toeing out of the house like tiny ghosts in our hand-made night gowns. The air was pregnant with Lake Michigan's humidity and our nighties clung to us like gum to a school desk as we huddled inside our makeshift tent, a mish-mash of blankets thrown over a rusty swing set frame. Nita, the oldest of the three youngest, took command over the one flashlight we were allotted. She used it sparingly, knowing full well the power of ownership that light gave her over my sister Vonny and me.

Under the magical spell of overhead stars, the three of us told stories, laughed, and plucked popcorn from the Singing Bowl as it turned in front of our six scabby knees. When our bellies were full, we'd sneak the two blocks into town where we'd sit on the curb in our bare feet and count the minutes between passing cars on U.S. 31. Eventually we'd tire and make our way back home. "Step on a crack, break your mother's back" we'd chant, taking giant leaps from one sidewalk square to the next.
Our goal was always to stay up until midnight, the hour when all scary things happen, although nothing ever happened. When the second hand ticked by twelve on Nita's watch, she'd hold the flashlight under her face and say, "Boo!" We'd squeal, then fall giggling onto our musty-smelling bedrolls. One last crink-crink of the wind-up bowl and we'd fall asleep with lilting notes that filled the sticky night, trying to forget that our mother's back was already broken.
What I wouldn't give to eat popcorn from that Singing Bowl again. To look into the innocent faces of my sisters when we didn't yet know the value of simple moments that get lost like a haunting melody you can't quite remember but permeates your dreams. To trace the carved-out leaves while tracing my way back to the joy of telling stories, much like the tale I meant to write when I got sidetracked by this one. But you know what? I don't need no stinking bowl to remind me that when the Internet goes down, it allows us to go deeper. So neener neener to whoever is responsible for the DNS attack today. You actually did some of us a favor.

What about you? Do you have a favorite memory of your sister(s)? If you didn't have Internet right now, what would you be doing instead?

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Doxology Redux

Several years ago I traveled to Michigan where my younger sister and I made a pilgrimage to our hometown of New Era. Vonnie parked her car at the elementary school and we walked the streets of the little village that raised us, a village that remains relatively unchanged over the last fifty years. We swang on the swings, stopped at the creek where we used to catch frogs, and walked the familiar railroad tracks. We wandered through the cemetery to find our baby sister's grave, where another sister has since been buried beside her. 
We ended up in front of the house we shared with our parents and five siblings. As I stood looking up at the window of our childhood bedroom, I felt a sudden urge to walk through those rooms. Having married at the young age of sixteen, I wanted to allow myself a more gentle pass through the last membrane of my childhood rather than having been yanked like split thread through an ill-fitting needle. 
I dragged my shy sister up the sidewalk and rang the bell. The door opened and the current pastor and his wife welcomed us on a tour of the parsonage. Vonnie and I held hands as we moved through the rooms.  "There's where Mom's water broke before they took her to the hospital and she delivered a dead baby," I said. Vonnie stared quietly at the floor.
I pointed to a corner of the kitchen. "We had a mangle right here. It hissed when Mom ironed the pillowcases, steamed up all the windows."
We paused at the foot of the stairs leading to the second floor. "And that's where I found Mom. I was upstairs, weaving potholders when I heard her fall down the stairs. Nobody else was home, so I ran next door and got the neighbor. I remember the ambulance taking her away. "
We peeked into our parent's former bedroom. "They hooked traction up to her bed to take the pressure off her spine."
"The room was much bigger then," my sister said.
"Everything was bigger then. Except the tree in the back yard. Can you believe we used to climb to the top?"
"You did. I only went about halfway up. You were always the risk-taker."
We thanked our hosts for the tour and walked across the street to the church where, as children, we'd spent unbearably long hours counting ceiling tiles and organ pipes to pass the time between my father's first prayer and the last low note of the doxology. I took pictures of the stained glass windows and the wooden plaque with white hymn numbers resting in the carved grooves. Vonnie stood at the back of the auditorium, talking with a woman who was readying the sanctuary for the evening service. I walked toward the familiar podium, stroking the back of each curved pew I passed. When I reached the pulpit, I grasped the lectern, feeling my beloved dad's presence in every grain of the wood as I looked out over the invisible congregation.
The woman in the back tugged on her sleeve, seemed uncomfortable with our intrusion. "What's she doing up there?"

"That's my sister," I heard Vonnie say. After a moment, she smiled and leaned toward the woman. "She's a writer," she added, as if that explained everything.
And in a way, I suppose it did. My next book is, after all, a coming-of-age novel set in the Midwest. But truth be told I wasn't just working on a future book; I was revisiting early chapters of my story, one written upon my bones many years ago. It felt good to inhabit that young girl knowing what I now know. I wanted to give her a hug and tell her everything will be fine. That it's okay to take risks sometimes. And that you're never too old to climb trees.

I wonder, if you could go back and whisper something into the ear of your younger self, what would you say? 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Sound of Paper

"In order to make art, we must first make an artful life, a life rich enough and diverse enough to give us fuel." --Julia Cameron, The Sound of Paper
In this digital age we've developed less and less of a relationship to paper compared to our relationship to a digital screen. But what sound can match the swoosh of envelopes pushed through the mail slot, the thrill of anticipation as you gather up the pile? Today, most communication is accomplished via email but to a writer, the sound of paper is a promise. It's the promise of an idea about to take form on the page. The promise of a check that might mysteriously appear from a forgotten debtor, just in time to pay the rent. Or the promise of an acceptance letter from one of the many agents you sent your manuscript. Even a rejection letter holds promise, because it means you are a writer, broadcasting your pages like seeds in a windstorm, knowing one of them will eventually burrow itself into the heart of a receptive reader and take hold.
I wrote my first poem at the age of nine. It was simply titled, Mother. I have no recollection of the words anymore, only the sound of my pencil scratching a clumsy message of love into a lined notebook. It was written for the woman who lay in her bed, moaning in pain from degenerative disk disease. I thought my poem would help her get well. It didn't. But writing it helped me. Over the next several months, I wrote that pencil down to a stub. And many more pencils after that.
The title of Julia Cameron's book got me to thinking, what is the sound of paper? I took out my journal opened a Word document and tunneled back in time to when the sound of paper meant more than the hum of a computer coming to life on my lap, more than the click-clack of a keyboard. And I remembered...
The sound of candy wrappers unfolding, my tongue sweating with sweet anticipation.
Dad shaking out the Muskegon Chronicle after supper as he sat in his leatherette recliner, shoes off, tie loosened.
The last flimsy square on the roll peeling from the cardboard cylinder, me shuffling to the closet with underpants around my ankles, cursing my sisters for their lack of consideration.
A dentist pinning a stiff paper napkin around my neck to catch my blood but not my screams as he yanked a tooth we couldn't afford to fill with silver.
A note uncrinkling on its own after being passed under bubblegum-painted desks. Do you like me? Circle Yes or No. (Yes.)
Red and green Christmas paper, peppered with dried needles, my name on the tag. Tearing, not caring. Because it's for me.
Unfolding a wrinkly blue learner's permit, exchanging it for the real thing, although I'd been driving since I was twelve.
Antiseptic white paper sheet unrolled, the width of my bottom, scooch down, Honey. A little further. A little further.
Wet signatures dancing across a marriage license, that we traded in for a thick ream of divorce papers almost before the ink was dry.
Fat markers squeaking bloody prayers on poster board, carried on a stick, nobody hearing the sound of peace marching past closed windows as we protested the wars.
Words written on lined paper. Dear Mom. I wrote this poem for you...

What about you? What does paper sound like? What memory or image comes to mind when you close your eyes and listen?

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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Writing Out The Storm

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.  ~Ray Bradbury
When I find myself too busy to write I can actually feel the creativity start to wane. I love writing. Really, I do. It's the revising I hate. Surgically removing big chunks of writing, inserting new material, moving whole chapters around, changing the ending for crying out loud--it boggles the mind. And when this particular mind is boggled, it tends to travel toward any number of distractions. The longer I wait to dive into my writing the more distanced I become from what once were fresh, perhaps even brilliant, ideas.

A month ago I woke to the dog licking my foot, let her outside, and in my foggy state flung open my mind's door on the way to my desk.  An unseen hand--my own, I think--brewed an espresso and set it on the side table. The keyboard landed in my lap, and my sleepy fingers found home. One by one, the first couple words choked and sputtered, resurrected from the tombs of procrastination. Light found its way into the room as I lifted first one, then the other hand. I took a deep breath and let the words fly .

Since then, six chapters have arisen from the page, propelled by a two-book offer my agent received from a respected editor. I can't announce the details yet because the minutia is still in negotiations but needless to say I am beyond thrilled to know that my coming-of-age novel set in Midwest during the culturally explosive sixties has found a home with a wonderful publisher. The release is scheduled for Spring of 2018. The second book, the one just taking shape in my writing womb, will hopefully emerge as a fully-formed story in time for its release the following year.

From as far back as I remember, words have leaned against my chest like an irritable dog at the back door, growling to be let out before leaking all over the floor. It was a rare day that I didn't spend at least part of it scratching my soul into the pages of various notebooks, journals, or whatever loose scrap of paper was handy when the urge overtook me. Then along came the computer and word processing, neat little letters marching across white paper all self-important and official looking. I wrote like crazy, often backing up to erase thoughts almost before they were fully formed. I filled diskettes, then CD's, hard drives, and finally, my own personal cloud, with a seemingly endless flood of poems, essays, and stories held captive by a heart too timid to give them all the life they deserved. 
And then I published Lost in Transplantation and discovered that taking that first risk, polishing a story and letting the light in, wouldn't kill me. Not only did I survive the writing, editing and publishing process, sharing my story changed my life in innumerable ways. Mostly very good ones. All this to say, thank you. Thank you to those of you who love to read and who buy or borrow books. Thank you to the bookstores who struggle to keep their doors open. Thank you libraries! Thank you to those who take the time to leave authors reviews. Thank you to the successful authors who uplift, encourage and mentor other writers. Thank you to my wonderful partner who reads my work and helps me make it better. And thank you, whoever you are, for celebrating the wonder of words with me today. Where would we be without each other?

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Wait Wait...Please Tell Me!

“We never live; we are always in the expectation of living.” ― Voltaire

I've been waiting to update this blog because I was hoping for a particular bit of good news to share but I'll have to save that for a future post because it's taking too long. Actually it's probably taking the normal amount of time; I'm just impatient. But as I waited for this news it occurred to me that lately I've been in waiting mode on a lot of levels. I'm waiting to hear from my agent that (hopefully) she's sold my next book. I'm waiting for my landlords to decide if they plan to rent out this amazing house to me for another year. I'm waiting to see if this toothache goes away so I don't have to go to the dreaded dentist. And I'm waiting until all of this and more is "settled" before I choose what to write next, where to live and whether to repair a crown or pull that damn tooth once and for all.

We spend so much of our lives waiting. Anyone who's ever carried a baby for nine months knows how excruciating slow those last few weeks are! We wait in lines, we wait for news, we wait for the right time and the right partner and we wait for the wisdom to discern all the big and little choices facing us at any given time. And quite often, instead of plowing forward we get stuck in this virtual waiting room, unable to move forward until the "perfect" moment, person or opportunity arises. But that's not how it works. Waiting for answers is like holding a seed in your hand and expecting it to bloom if you watch it long enough. You have to plant the darn thing, give it some water and then go do something else while you wait for it to grow. 

Twenty years ago my wasband and I debated about moving from Michigan to California. He reasoned that if he waited longer to retire his pension would be substantially greater. I argued that if he waited longer his stress levels would take their toll and what good is a pension if those extra years end up killing you? My belief was that our quality of life was much more important than a few hundred extra dollars a month. We moved six months later and never looked back. Although the marriage didn't last I think we can both honestly say it was one of the best decisions we ever made. You couldn't give me a million dollars for the memories I've created here on the Central Coast. 

I've decided to quit waiting and start living. Instead of looking at Craigslist ads for rentals I'm going to enjoy every last minute here at the ocean. I'm going to start the next book instead of worrying about editing and reediting the one my agent is currently pitching. I'm going to turn off my phone and go for a bicycle ride with my love instead of waiting to see if a massage appointment comes in. And I'm going to call the dentist tomorrow. Really I am. No, I mean it this time. Okay I'm not going to call the dentist but I'm going to look up the number.

So tell me, what are your waiting for? 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Inside Out

I am an introvert. 

"The Dickens!" you say. "I've heard you speak, I've seen how you are with clients and how easily you chat up strangers in the coffee shop." 

And you're right, I do all those things and I do them joyfully. But I am still an introvert.

People often confuse shyness with introversion but they're not the same thing.  A shy person is bashful or timid or lacks self-confidence. They tend to be very uncomfortable in new situations or in close proximity to other people. I feel shy sometimes but as a rule, I love being around people and I enjoy engaging strangers in conversation--especially if they appear lonely. In fact I often set out with a clear intention of making a difference in someone's day with a smile or a comment because it almost always makes a positive difference in my day.

The thing about introverts is that although we're very capable of socializing, we need solitude to recharge. We revel in our alone time. We crave that space where we can be alone with our thoughts to reflect, create or just do nothing. For me, introversion is a dichotomy. Because as much as I cherish my alone time, I much prefer to see a movie in a theater full of people because I find that shared experience adds so much more to the emotions of a good film. I like feeling like a part of the whole, connected to my immediate community. But then I want to go home and curl up on the sofa, not sit in a noisy coffee shop critiquing the characters or story arc.

According to Myers-Briggs personality experts, extroverts draw energy from interaction but those who prefer introversion expend energy through interaction. To rebuild their energy, introverts need quiet time alone, away from activity. We need space to reflect and analyze. Like, say, write a blog to justify why they are hidden away from the world, save for a beloved snoring dog, while unanswered emails and phone calls go unanswered.

The photo above was taken inside my little 1957 camper, parked in my driveway where I can see, smell and hear the ocean just outside my door because sometimes even the sea is too much much. This tiny room is where I go when I need space to write or reflect or just be lazy. What about you? Does engaging with the world charge your batteries or drain them? If it's the latter, where do you go to bring yourself back to full power? 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Bhoots On The Ground

As a veteran (23 years) massage therapist I've become very picky about who I receive my massages from. I like strong, confident hands that stem from a happy, positive human being. I've learned from experience that if a massage therapist is having an off day (or week or month) it's better to postpone the massage because being somewhat of an empath, it's very likely I'll absorb that sadness and/or negativity. In fairness, I apply the same standard to myself. I don't want to dump the doldrums on an unsuspecting client because that's just bad karma. If I feel like crap, I reschedule or hand off the work to one of my peers.

It wasn't that long ago when people used to cast their demons, known as bhootsinto a rock and leave it in the road for some unsuspecting sucker to pick up. I don't believe in that kind of magical thinking but on the flip side, I have seen with my own eyes and felt with my own hands the wonder of shared positivity and lightheartedness through massage therapy. Witnessing this transformation is one of the greatest rewards of what I do. 

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we applied the bhoot mythology in reverse? I live near the sea where it's common to see adults and children alike filling their pockets with ocean-carved stones and pretty shells. How lovely to think of the sea blessing all that flotsam, those stones and shells and polished glass before sending it ashore?  And what if we could each of us scatter goodwill and blessings like little treasures for unsuspecting strangers to find? 

As a writer my hope is always that a story or a phrase will bring a smile to your face or stir up emotions that engage the heart as well as the mind. That by telling my stories you will remember yours. And that you too will share your beautiful treasures with the world.

So tell me, if you could cast a secret gift into a stone to leave for a stranger, what would it be?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Five Things I've learned Since Becoming A Living Donor

Recently I celebrated the five-year anniversary of when I donated a kidney to an unknown (at the time) recipient. Over those five years I've learned a lot, both about myself and the world at large, in relation to what it means to be a living donor. As I reflect upon my experience and all the experiences born of that life-changing decision, I want to share the insights that surprised me the most or affected me the most profoundly.

  1. What you give to one person, you give to the world. No experience, large or small, occurs in a vacuum. What I mean by that is we often think of our actions as being fairly benign or having a limited effect on others but our actions, good or bad, have a ripple effect. When you put goodness out into the world it creates a wave that spreads beyond the realm of one's perception. Through each act of kindness you become a beautiful pebble in the center of that magnificent ripple and your generosity will overlap other lives in ways you can't imagine. From the beginning, I knew organ donation would help improve the quality of someone's life but I had no clue how many people--spouses, children, siblings, co-workers, friends--would also be directly affected by their person (and others involved in the kidney transplant chain) receiving a healthy kidney. I probably never will.
  2. Donating a kidney gave me a greater sense of purpose in my life but it wasn't the purpose. Not to minimize the act of organ donation, but helping to spread the word about the tragic lack of donors is what I consider my greater contribution. Many people confuse passion with purpose, but our passions don’t define us; passions are merely a vehicle to deliver one's purpose. Our purpose is to be of service, to make a positive contribution to the world, and to bring joy to and/or reduce suffering in the lives of others. Obviously donating a kidney reduced suffering but I believe the underlying purpose was educating people about the need for organs and inspiring others to consider donation (or other acts of kindness). 
  3. Living Donors are happier. I've met hundreds of compassionate donors in the last five years and if I had to choose one word to describe them it would be happy. As moderator of a Facebook support group for donors and potential donors, I'm continually blown away by the inherent joy emanating from each one of them. I know from my own experience there's a euphoria that accompanies the act of living donation which is difficult to explain without sounding a little crazy. I can only liken this heightened sense of peace to the bliss many woman feel after the birth of a child. It just is.
  4. Having one kidney has had very little effect on my life. I often forget that I only have one kidney because it's pretty much like my life with two kidneys. When you remove a kidney from a healthy individual the remaining kidney grows in mass and increases its function. I don't take any medications or special precautions other than avoiding NSAIDS (Ibuprofen, Advil, etc.) because they're known to have an adverse affect on kidney health but I would avoid those drugs even if I still had two kidneys. I've maintained a very active life as a massage therapist who enjoys hiking and tennis and dancing a jig when so moved. That is not to say that donors never experience complications because a small percentage do and my heart goes out to them. I always recommend potential donors do plenty of research about the possible risks and due diligence when it comes to their transplant center/team. That said, if anything I am in better shape than before I donated; happy, healthy and strong.
  5. Being a Living Donor doesn't define me. I will likely always accept invitations to speak to groups about organ donation (and kindness in general) but my life continues to blossom in many delicious directions. I have only recently become a living donor but I have always been a writer. I enjoyed writing and sharing my memoir Lost in Transplantation and I'm excited about my next book, a coming-of-age novel set in the Midwest during the 60's cultural revolution. In the meantime I hope to post more regularly here on my blog. I'd love it if you'd leave a comment if any of the above speaks to you personally or just to say hi. 
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