Hi, I'm Jill
I'm a mom, an award-winning author of 3 books, and an avid outdoor adventurer, who married a performance artist and addiction counselor renown for the best risotto on the planet.
I grew up as an Army brat, traveling the world. Now, I'm psyched to live in Spokane and adventure around the Pacific Northwest.
If you’ve ever taken a writing class, you’ve probably met this Flannery O’Connor quote: “Everywhere I go, I’m asked if I think the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a best seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.” My teachers loved to use these three sentences of O’Connor’s to bolster their sometimes savage approaches to student writing. I’m not a fan of...Read More
You are 22. Snow on the cars; ice on the streets. She came out of her house at 4 a.m., barefoot, in a nightshirt, and kissed you for hours. She stood on your boots, her hands clasped at your neck, and kissed you.So lithe you could lift her. You write heartbreak and violence. Poems where the butterflies devour one another. Stories where the girl is a livid bruise. Nameless. Screaming. In the mornings, at...Read More
I get a number of emails every year from someone trying to police my language. “You’re too smart to use so many 4-letter words,” they tend to write. Using that old shaming technique that my grandmother tried out on me when I was a child. “Only ignorant people talk like that, JillAmy.” Bullshit. Talk however you want to talk. If you don’t like 4-letter words, don’t use them. If you hate the word queer...Read More
I’m listening to Brene Brown read her book, Rising Strong. And it feels like she wrote the entire thing specifically to address issues I struggle with. What I find most compelling about Brown is her honesty about anger. She talks about how often her first response is anger. In our culture, we rarely acknowledge women’s anger. We don’t talk through why we get angry, and what anger is a cover for. What is anger...Read More
Years ago, I saw a play where one woman told another, “I can’t stand these young women who say their names like there’s a question mark at the end. Like they aren’t quite sure their name IS their name. Maybe it isn’t?” I stressed about that for ages. I told every woman I knew about it. And most of them did what I had. Stood there struck by the dialogue. Retracing every time they’d...Read More
When you were 44, you fell in love with the young woman you had been. The one that used to embarrass you with her earnestness, her certainty. Do you still remember the day that you woke on the beach in Kaneohe with your head in the lap of another girl, and her tears falling on your face? Her tears woke you. The sun had dragged the top of its head over the horizon, and...Read More
I have one rule: don’t post when you’re mad. This is one of those times when my rule doesn’t matter. It’s Pride month. And the celebration is hard-won. The glorious riot of people who’d had enough of indignity and cruelty. We are a community that celebrates the families we have made, and the truth we tell, despite the danger inherent in telling the truth. In being disobedient to the dominant culture. You don’t have...Read More
I knew I was gay when I was five. In my family, it was the worst thing you could be. My dad called it the dark place. At the same time, he liked that I was good at sports, thought it was hilarious that I was constantly mistaken for a boy, and actively encouraged me not to be feminine in any way. He raised me like a boy. It felt like a fracture in...Read More
Nine years later, I’m still a fixer in recovery. For me, the most difficult thing is that I am paid in my professional life to fix all the things. To manage literal millions of dollars a year and abide by all the variable state and federal mandates. I’ve told you before that I’m a Faux Chaos Muppet. Or, as my wife said when we were first dating, “Don’t let her front like she’s chill...Read More
I got uveitis for Christmas. My optometrist described it as a charley horse in your eye. But it’s worse than that. Your eye burns red. Your vision is blurred day in and day out. There is radiant pain throughout your sinus and eye socket. Light hurts you. Sunlight is terrible, but indoor lights are worse. And, in my case, my eye became so inflamed that my lens got stuck, and my pupil disfigured. My...Read More