Reading at Northshire Books

Saturday, November 17, at 6 p.m., in Manchester, Vermont!


“Time Travelers” Wins Gold!

My essay, “Time Travelers,” which is part of my memoir (Strangers in the Village), was awarded the first prize–Gold Award–for best Family Travel essay of 2017 in the Solas Travel Writing Awards competition. Thanks to Tina Mitchell at The Turnip Truck(s), who asked me to write a piece for their “Abundance” issue and published the essay first! You can read the essay right now at the Solas Awards website.

Frost Heaves

“A human being is a part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.”

(Albert Einstein)

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Frost Heaves is set in Southern Vermont, a physically harsh and rural environment paradoxically within a few hours’ drive of the urban centers of Boston and New York. In this setting, an eclectic mix of characters are forced by proximity to interact, to negotiate community, and to confront the realities of their own individual strengths and weaknesses. It is a place that encourages retreat, even escape, but, as the characters in this book must realize, the quaint and bucolic lifestyle imagined in this place is disrupted daily by the fact that a human is, in the end, another part of the natural world and a part of the larger social organism. Though these stories are individually complete, in the book collection they are also connected by theme, character, and setting, and with an understanding that individual experience is a shared human story sometimes only barely perceived as overlapping, cohesive, and common. The book’s structure is both seasonal and cyclical, with each section of stories (each close third person point of view, focused on the experience of a protagonist) introduced by a story that shifts point of view in rapid succession, connecting the community of voices to place.