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.
Some people have to be at work by 8 a.m., and stay there until 5 or so. Some of them have to talk to customers. Or punch time cards. Sometimes they work for assholes, or sit in tiny partitioned cubby holes. Some commute for hours—leave in the dark, and arrive home to a similar situation. There are whole days I don’t go outdoors. Days where I might produce 7 pages, though I have sat...Read More
What do you remember of your adolescent self? Ali Smith channels hers beautifully in The Accidental, and Stephanie Vaughn’s short story Dog Heaven has exactly the right mix of girl remembering story, and woman remembering girl. I’ve been thinking a lot about this, this adolescent point of view, and I think one of the most striking things about adolescent brain is its immediacy. In eighth grade, this boy described to me how he’d wound...Read More
When I read through the latest rewrite of my novel in November, I was embarrassed to find that several key character details were based on a close friend of mine. When I’d envisioned the character, these details were supposed to be placeholders, developed, later, into other, less recognizable details. But the character got away from me. From the earliest pages, she was so wholly her own that I forgot I’d based any of her...Read More
I’ve just watched a documentary about extreme winter sports: Warren Miller’s Playground. Skiers cliff diving, half-pipe jumping, snowboarding into trees, parachuting down the north face of Alaskan mountains, etc. Sweet, terrifying athleticism. I am so not extreme. I never caught a wave over eight feet. Whenever I mountain biked in the back country, I hit a tree. I sucked at skateboarding because I was afraid of crashing (most especially down stairs). Two days ago,...Read More
The sleds of our youth are German: a sweet wooden one with a multi-colored webbed seat, and curled runners; and a racing car of red plastic with a sophisticated steering mechanism that includes a wheel and horn. Yesterday my brother and I humped these up Howard Street in addition to my son on his new inner tube. The inner tube is fast beyond all reckoning–riding up the snow burm, spinning in wild circles, whooshing...Read More
My four year old is a random trekking companion. But two days ago, we walked for miles through the snow paths and side streets of the South Hill, while Gavin told a story of an avalanche that buried cars and houses and trees. Groups of young men with shovels were moving up and down the hill, digging people’s cars out, and excavating driveways. We watched any number of cars get stuck, and neighbors come...Read More
Stephen S. Hall’s recent article, “Last of the Neanderthals” http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/10/neanderthals/hall-text in the September issue of National Geographic suggests we still have more questions than answers about Neanderthals. Were their tools more than rudimentary, did they paint with colorful pigments, or simply use black, did they ornament their bodies with bone or ivory, and the biggest mystery of all: did they mate with Homo sapiens? In fact, their brain volume was, on average, slightly larger...Read More
In college, my roommates and I rented a crazy little house in Kalihi, a suburb of Honolulu, on Oahu. They were all Filipino (except Ina who was Chamorran–though her mother had immigrated to Guam from the Philippines) and taught me to cook lumpia, and roll sushi, and spam musubi (yes, I’m serious) and enjoy shark cake and lomi lomi salmon and pickled onions and any number of exotic dishes. We ate tuna fish mixed...Read More
One of the reasons that I dig the animated Sleeping Beauty is that Maleficent is such a great villain. She has horns and a fabulous voice and calls upon all the forces of hell to transform into a medieval dragon. Love it. Or Peter Lorre playing a freaky child killer in M, a beautifully shot German film from 1931. The villains that really get to me play their roles with such delight, because they...Read More
I was one of those kids who lectured for her stuffed animals. I’d line them up on the bed, and the chairs, and on the sofa, and use the chalkboard at the front of the “class” to illustrate my lessons. Arithmetic and spelling exercises, story time, History, flashcards, lots of lectures on animals since I planned to be a veterinarian (and many of my pupils were animals). From the second grade, I wrote stories,...Read More