Never Look Down at the Cup

When I was in college, I worked at a popular Mexican restaurant. Every Friday night, I’d watch my friend who was a cocktail server maneuver around the packed lobby delivering drinks to customers who were waiting to be seated. One day I asked her, “How do you carry those trays of drinks through all those...

An Unexpected Addiction

After a year of pandemic isolation, you would think I’d have had enough of silence. As someone who is always “in her head,” I feel like during all this alone time I’ve cycled through just about every thought a person could have related to our current predicament, not to mention the state of the world,...

Not All Writers Are Narcissists

My book club recently reached a full consensus about a book: none of us liked it. In fact, four of the ten chose not to finish reading it. The conversation about the book was entertaining because whenever there’s agreement, people can speak freely, and some of their comments about how much they disliked the book...

You Be You, and I’ll Be Me

I just finished a World War II novel called Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. Then I started watching the Masterpiece show Atlantic Crossing. People ask me often how after 30 years of researching, writing, and speaking about World War II, I could still be so interested in the subject. “Don’t you get tired...

The Return of Hope

I’ve written often about hope in this blog. As you know, I believe it’s nearly impossible to sustain a life in the arts without it. And hope is certainly what continues to get us through the aftermath of 2020. Interestingly, it is my relationship to hope that has undergone the most change for me in...

The Artist as Witness

I was conducting a virtual school visit with a fifth-grade class the other day, talking about my children’s books about World War II, each of which are inspired by real people I interviewed. I’d already explained to the kids I wasn’t alive during the war, so I was surprised when one boy asked, “Did you...

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