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.
My father drops my son off to me on Sunday evening and tells me that my ex is in the hospital. A congenital heart defect, surgically corrected three times prior, is failing again. “He’s coughing up blood,” my son says casually, before telling me what he’s going to play at the talent show. My child the compartmentalizer. We come up with coping strategies because they work. For a time. As long as everything stays...Read More
Our friend spent hours in our trees on Saturday bringing down dead branches. Afterward, you could feel the trees shake and stretch and stand straighter. He zipped up and down on his rope, sawing by hand and chain. We’ve dragged all the branches into piles in the side yard to be run through an industrial mulcher. All week, I’ve been thinking about loneliness. About how we sit with it. Our loneliness. And we either...Read More
I fell asleep, despite the dog howling in the neighbor’s yard, and dreamed of ramshackle farms – muck, emaciated chickens. This illness brings clarity. Outdoors now, as the dogs race up and back. I keep thinking of what Beyonce said about lemonade bringing healing. All my recipes served me better when I was not in love. The bible taught me disobedience is the worst crime. That word feels like armor, a sharpened blade, fucking. That...Read More
My boss’ mother-in-law died over the weekend in Hospice Care. Last week, he told me, “She’s just a super rad person. Vibrant right up ’til now.” She was 92. My boss and his wife sat with the mother while she died. He described her breathing. What his wife said. How hard it was. And because we’re Irish, we made jokes about our sadness. Isn’t it odd how the injury from death is in the...Read More
Mary and the grandkid are working in the side yard when they holler for more supplies. “Mar,” I say, handing her the paneling, “she’s got a pair of scissors over there.” “Yes, I told her not to touch the silver part and that she can cut away at the weeds.” “She’s four,” I say, unnecessarily. “Yes, Jill Malone. She’s perfectly all right. ‘Tesla, which part of the scissors can you touch?'” “Only the blue...Read More
We’d already been in the parking lot outside the auto-parts store for an embarrassing amount of time. That doesn’t take into account how long we’d been in the front yard removing the bent screws that pinned the old license plate before we’d even left home. Now, oil pooled in every direction, we crouched and stood and crouched, trying a number of different screws and bolts, slipping our thin arms through the front of the...Read More
“It’s probably good,” I tell her, “I’ve never had a little dog before. Clearly I let Hazel get away with murder. Is she the most neurotic creature ever? No doubt. But she’s so adorable.” “Like dog, like owner,” Mary says. “What do you mean? I’m not neurotic.” Mary. Staring. “Are you kidding?” “How am I neurotic?” “You are a catastrophizer on an epic scale.” Is that a real word? I wonder. “How? How am...Read More
For the first time since we moved into our fixer upper, I don’t have a house project. This spring, all I have to think about is the garden. What would I like to plant? Where do we need trees? If we had chickens, could I walk anywhere near them without being terrified? I’ve looked up plants that foster bees. Plants that can survive with little water. Plants that thrive when a woman can’t tell...Read More
I was twelve the first time I shaved my legs. Nervous, I locked the bathroom door and spent quite a while sorting out how to navigate my ankles and knees, and how high you’re actually supposed to shave. Before I’d finished, my dad kicked the door in and dragged me through the house to the foot of my mother. He was yelling about how we don’t lock doors in this house and we especially don’t...Read More
In the dream, a heron slopes by. There’s a river, and a fence, and stone walls everywhere. I’m standing in a pasture. Behind me are sheep. It’s Ireland, from an August when I was 23. The woman I am infrequently sleeping with is somewhere nearby. But it’s the heron I watch. It’s dark and rough, like the fence, and the orange dingy dragged up the bank. I am 23 and such a coward. I...Read More