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.

Jill-Malone-Headshot-Vertical

Tomboy

October 24, 2017
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I hate the word tomboy. It lands on me like a blow. Sometimes I actually flinch. You’re so determined to tell me I’m not a girl that you have come up with a word that literally means male boy. You are redundantly doubling down on my absence of girl. I fucking hate it. In that single word I see every old lady chasing me out of bathrooms since I turned six. My wife loves...

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Thirteen

October 18, 2017
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When I turned 12, I took a certification class with the Red Cross, and started babysitting. All the money went into my college fund, but eventually I used it to buy one terrible car in high school, and then one miraculous one that I’d drive for the next decade. I loved babysitting. Little kids can rocket from joy to abject misery in a single sentence. They seem, always, on the edge of space travel....

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The end

September 18, 2017
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After my son was born, I told everyone — my husband, my mother, my friends — anyone who would listen, that I was not okay. And everyone told me I was fine. That I was fine, and doing well. Now I can recognize it as postpartum depression, but at the time it was just a long, terrifying panic attack. I was convinced my son was going to die in my care. I thought that...

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I can see more from out here

August 17, 2017
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I thought girls actually used pencils to darken lines beneath their eyes. The same pencils we used to take bubble tests. That seemed so brave to me. Like something a pirate would do. Lined up in the hallway, waiting to march out to the playground, I could see them leaned over sinks, drawing emphasis. Girl 101. I studied it from the outside. Girls with their hair products, their Keds, their bangles. When Jimmy Stewart...

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Intimacy

August 14, 2017
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My sadness is a tail that shakes out behind me. What have I ever been but certain? Watch me bring these walls down. Thrashing even as I walk from room to room. I check all the windows, and out on the porch. I check the driveway. I check my phone. And when I find you, at last, it is worse than not knowing. Startling. I want that word to be a bird. Startling To take...

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Rings

July 19, 2017
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I met Ruly when she was still called by another name. This was in 2005, when I managed a bookstore. She had a jewelry store upstairs, and came down with a banner that she needed to hang from the air duct several stories above the main floor. I held the banner while she rigged it, and an exchange of maybe fifteen minutes led to my visiting her store for the beautiful silver she carved....

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On the suffering of others

June 24, 2017
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When my child was three, he inadvertently squirted hand soap into his eyes. We were in the kitchen. He screamed. SCREAMED. I lifted him into the sink and ran water over his eyes, but when I had him open them, I hadn’t gotten all the soap out and he screamed again. The second time, I let the water run over his eyes for so long that I had time to watch his terrified face,...

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Love Story, redrafted

June 8, 2017
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The day marriage equality was approved by voters in Washington State, my wife and I were watching the returns online. She was lying in bed, recovering from surgery. I kept calling out numbers, and crying. It was 2012, when I still thought Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan were the worst things that could happen to America. O nostalgia. Mary got an infection from that surgery. And hefty medical bills. And no physical relief. Fast...

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AP English

June 5, 2017
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We didn’t sit at the back of the classroom, though we were closest to the door. As the classroom was long and lean, we sat at the outer edge. The two girls on my left were new to Hawaii for their senior year of high school. I can’t remember if they were military kids, but that seems most likely. The blonde told us, on the first day, that she was from Texas, and the...

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Stirrup

June 1, 2017
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You have been ill. Your body wrung out like a wash cloth. The parts of your brain where the lights live have closed for repairs. “I don’t understand,” your boss says, “why we aren’t all in the streets. Why aren’t we all in the streets?” You are too tired to reply, “Many of us are.” Or, more truthfully, “Because we have to last out this work day in our air-conditioned building.” “Because we are...

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