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I am not a stand-up comic Anyone who has spent a few minutes with me knows this. I didn’t know this. I desperately wanted to be one, to tell joke after joke and have people dissolve in belly laughs, the kind causing unacceptable liquid to fly out the nostrils, while you, the stand up comic… Read more »

in Books, Encouragement, New Beginnings, Writing

Many years ago, I wanted to be a reporter, the kind that rushed to breaking news stories. I’d picture myself, microphone in hand in front of, say, a burning building and the news anchor back in the studio would ask me, “Joan, what do we know so far about this situation?” The thing is, I… Read more »

in Books, Encouragement, New Beginnings, Writing


You just never know what finds it’s way into a story. Years ago, my friend Chris Blair, who had been a school librarian for thirty years, told me about a heart condition that had limited her into her twenties. She couldn’t run, she couldn’t play sports. And I remember wondering, What’s it like not to… Read more »

When I was in school, I wrote all the time—short stories, essays, poetry, songs, greeting cards. I had a few poems published and once I won a prize. I was on fire with the love of writing. Over the years sometimes that fire has gone out. It’s usually when I’m too busy or too stressed… Read more »

It started when someone gave me a little angel figurine that could fit in my hand. I sat at my desk, looked at the angel and said, “So what would happen if you were real?” The angel said nothing, but my imagination was speaking. It was past Christmas and Valentine hearts were everywhere. “So, what… Read more »

Why do I read? I just can’t help myself. I read to learn and to grow, to laugh and to be motivated. I read to understand things I’ve never been exposed to. I read when I’m crabby, when I’ve just said monumentally dumb things to the people I love. I read for strength to help… Read more »

I came upon the word juggernaut this morning. It’s not an every day word; it means, in essence, unstoppable. But I decided to look it up (this is a great way to avoid starting a first draft). Merriam Webster defines juggernaut as “something (such as a force, campaign, or movement) that is extremely large and… Read more »

Because of a flood decades ago, I have nothing that my grandmother wrote, except, I suppose, all that she wrote on my heart. She was a professional storyteller and sometimes I can see her sitting on a stool in the kitchen, a big yellow bowl in her lap, whipping egg whites with a wooden spoon… Read more »

Life has been very un-funny these last few days. I had 27 action items on my To Do list that received no action at all except for late at night when I moved them to the next day’s list. There was a family medical concern, there were interruptions, misunderstandings; the tyranny of unrealistic expectations bore… Read more »

I really love Ironman and Captain America, but our relationships can go just so far. Because the greatest thing ever is to have a relationship with a bonafide flesh-and-blood hero, who puts herself or himself out there for you and others. My grandmother was like that. She moved in with us after my parents were… Read more »

My computer died. I sat there and looked at it. It was cold, the screen was dark. I pushed buttons, I talked to it, I prayed. I called my computer genius husband who had to work late at the office, but he said, “Things can be done.” This is how geniuses talk. “What things?” I… Read more »

My husband Evan saw it first. We’d pulled into Merritt Bookstore’s parking lot for my book signing. There it was on a car door. I laughed. Now that was a fan. Hope Was Here, my sixth novel for young people, has inspired some wonderful signage, but there was something about this dusty declaration that put things… Read more »

It was Christmas Eve and I was miserable. Eleven days before I’d been in a car accident that would lead to neurosurgery, but that surgery would be months in coming. I couldn’t write, I had stinging pain in my neck and back, and I was scared.  But my daughter was singing in the angel choir… Read more »

My Wheaten terrier Max can go from 0 to 60 in a couple of seconds—it’s a wonder to see, particularly if you know Max’s backstory. One trainer diagnosed him with “global phobia,” which was a nice way of saying, Don’t expect this dog to leave the house. Max would look up at me like a… Read more »

I adore eggs — I eat them, I collect them. I love what they symbolize — new beginnings. And every now and then I'll open a book or a drawer and an egg will be there. Not the chicken variety — the small ones I've cut out of paper and written on when I was… Read more »

A few days ago I stubbed my toe, which hardly seems like the stuff of blogging, but then it turned purple and I limped a little, and it hurt a little, but I had things to do, so I kept limping and it got better and I thought — ah, Joan, see, you didn’t have… Read more »

The strongest emotions we have as people are hate and love.  Both, if we open ourselves to them fully, will change us and the world around us.  Of the two, I believe love is the stronger, although it might not make nearly as much noise as hate and it certainly won't get as many headlines. … Read more »

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm letting the world know that my next novel will be written under a pseudonym — either J. K. Bowlings or Erasmus Breach, I haven't picked the name yet, but it's best to speak the truth now because in this news-in-a-nanosecond/Wiki leaks age, someone will find out.  Surely, we… Read more »

I was looking under my couch trying to find my glasses, when I remembered a time, maybe 25 years ago, when my daughter's gerbil Lassie escaped. We'd looked everywhere for this rodent to no avail and Jean had left for first grade in tears.   "If you find her, you'll call the school, right?"  I… Read more »