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.
The kid had already performed St. James Infirmary for Talent Show tryouts. Yet, we sat in the audience anyway. Maybe this year they were required to stay until the last performer had auditioned. His buddy was called to go home. And still we stayed. I sat on the back side of the lunch table, with my son and two girls in front of me. The girl on his left kept asking questions. I’d see...Read More
Years ago, my coworker had this sad, half-broken smile on her face when she told me that her 26-year-old son had survived for two years playing online poker because jobs were for suckers. “My son is a mystery to me,” she said. And I had this terrible urge to grab her and yell, “Do something! Fix this!” Which means that I was thinking about my own relationship with my son, rather than her relationship with...Read More
In the new age of acceptable fascism, I guess the thing I find most troublesome is how familiar it feels. I stood in Dachau Concentration Camp as a child. I looked at all the photos and the ovens. I stood there as a five year old and have never been able to shake that feeling. I loved Germans. I spoke German fluently as a child. How could they have done this? Or stood by...Read More
There are only two people in the band who are under 70, and one is my son. He plays third trumpet, and watches the bandleader and the first trumpet for signals. You’d think he’d been doing this forever. Swapping out mutes, keeping time with his foot. The first trumpet is 90. During the break, he tells me my kid is an exceptional young man. He shakes my hand as though we’d both been in...Read More
“What,” I ask my wife, “do you consider your moral imperative?” “Be good.” “That’s the whole thing?” “Be as good as I am able in every situation.” Be good. We live in a time where “Don’t be evil,” and “Don’t be a dick,” fail to capture the range of assaults we face. It’s not enough to hold back from the worst behavior. We should be out there shining a goddamned light on the good...Read More
The family had a house in upstate New York, and an apartment in the city. They left the dog in the house because he was such a bother in the apartment — shedding, barking, needy. He was left alone, and they paid a stranger to walk him twice a day. She said he cried every time he had to return to the house and be alone again. There is a man deep in the...Read More
Maybe my wife’s snoring woke me, or maybe I really was trying to decide when I transitioned from third person to second. In graduate school, I discovered I could distance myself from the camera if I focused the camera on the girl. What is the girl seeing? What does what the girl does mean? Twenty-one and the girl couldn’t even imagine the woman. Or the woman’s first person narrative. Look at the girl making...Read More
When Mike Stock told us about the orange clay pools, we called bullshit because Mike Stock lied as habitually as the rest of us chewed gum. “I’ll show you!” he kept saying. And so a pack of us entered the woods that morning, behind the military housing at Fort Leonard Wood. The forest was quiet, with creeks, tree frogs, and small turtles. The summer after second grade, and my younger cousins were visiting for the...Read More
If you were to ask me, “How can you love this world?” as I often ask myself, the answer would be, “Because Ann Patchett writes novels.” Sometimes it would be, “Because Alice Munro writes short stories.” And sometimes, it’s more specific, the name of a book I have just read, and how I stalled at the end — maybe with only seven pages to go — and decided that I needed to wash dishes,...Read More
Here is Warsan Shire’s poem, 34 Excuses for Why We Failed at Love: 1. I’m lonely so I do lonely things 2. Loving you was like going to war; I never came back the same. 3. You hate women, just like your father and his father, so it runs in your blood. 4. I was wandering the derelict car park of your heart looking for a ride home. 5. You’re a ghost town I’m...Read More