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.
Val McDermid said that characters don’t tell stories, writers do. And, of course, this is true. The characters are a writer’s creation, after all. But, my impulse to bicker with this statement comes from a difference in writer brain. I’m going to divide writers neatly into two categories: those who write to plot/structure, and those whose work is character-driven. McDermid, a mystery writer of intricate, layered plots, is the first. I’m the second. Is...Read More
At a lecture by the poet, Jack Gilbert, years ago, he said that an editor had once advised him that perhaps his poems had big endings too often. I’m intrigued by that criticism. “The Great Fires” is a masterful book of poetry. I carried it in my backpack for years, and read some of those poems thousands of times. They fold back on themselves, the endings transfiguring everything that has come before. The narratives...Read More
More than a decade ago, my grandfather told me that no one was going to pay me to sit around and write poetry, and he hoped that I had a contingency plan. I didn’t actually believe him. Why couldn’t I make a living writing poetry? Why couldn’t I cross the country, eating diner apple pie, discussing the Black Mountain poets, exploring the revolution of imagist language? I still dream about living in a...Read More
If you had to define your childhood by three things, what would they be? On my hike this morning with the dogs, I thought one would have to be my haircut. It has always informed my world in specific, and powerful ways. But, I just can’t play through on that one. My red dirt bike, my black dog, and the woods. The first two are, no doubt, self evident, but the third is the...Read More
For me, voice comes first. I see an incident—a girl dangling from an airplane, laughing—and I wonder, what’s that about? What’s going on there? I have to know more about that. For this second novel, I opened the door to a woman covered in blood, and I heard the question: “What have you done?” And that’s how it is. A voice, and the story comes from the voice. The voice tells the story. I...Read More
My application packet is assembled and ready for delivery. I just had to say I was paralyzed with fear for the fear to vanish. I am free. Practically. I was watching the Matrix Reloaded (the second one) yesterday when I was supposed to be writing my cover letter, and I felt very zen witnessing the sci-fi kung fu cgi mayhem. It’s a pleasure not to be virtual. Where does passion live? It’s an endorphin,...Read More
I am freaking myself out. When I was in elementary school, I decided to be a teacher—to teach History. That was the plan all the way into college, when I discovered that English Literature was significantly more compelling. My junior year I took this fiction/poetry team-teaching class. We had a fiction writer for the first half—a rugged guy who loved Hemingway, and for the poetry half—an earnest guy who wrote long, lush narratives. Literature...Read More
The thing about art is that it has to be manic. The crest and trough heaving is necessary to be able to experience and capture and elucidate the joy and folly of living. When you find yourself surrounded by nurturing, intelligent women with educated opinions and firebrand ideals, you start to think you’ve only ever half-lived. And you’re right. So, P-Town was fantastic. Two readings, four signings, a wine & cheese mingle, a panel,...Read More
In graduate school, a woman I was in love with gave me a copy of Jeanette Winterson’s “The Passion” and promised it would change me. And it did. It was an uncomfortable read. Mad and operatic. Typical of Winterson in its tone and mode, as I would learn afterward, but startling in that first read. I remember having to remind myself to breathe. And the scene where the web-footed woman takes her gondola to the house of her...Read More