Category Archives: health

The Writing Year in Review: 2017

I’m copying (stealing?) this idea from a new author friend, Erika Mailman. In a year where it felt like I didn’t do much writing, it’s good to look back and see what I actually did. It felt like a rather unproductive year, writing-wise, but the evidence shows it wasn’t as unproductive as I thought. For quite a while after my surgery*, I didn’t feel like doing very much, including writing. But I eventually pulled myself away from the couch and Netflix, and got some words written down. The surgery itself prompted me to write, which turned out to be the silver lining. So here’s an overview of the year in writing:

— I wrote several times about my healing process, in a series of updates, in the weeks and months post-op.  I am much improved since those early days, but am still awaiting the final version of the obturator that will blend in more naturally and allow me to laugh the big laughs without being self-conscious. As soon as I get the long-awaited appliance with tinted gums and lovely matching teeth (that is, teeth in the same shade as my natural ones), I’ll be writing what I hope to be the last installment of this crazy adventure that began on March 1.

–Once I was able to swallow normally and avoid the sting of alcohol, I got back to writing my Ms Barstool columns for It took me a while, but I’ve enjoyed getting back on the bar stool and back to work, if you call that working.

–The trip to Antarctica may not have inspired much writing, but I loved capturing the beauty of the ice formations. And if one picture is worth a thousand words, then the math is kind of impressive.

–I started writing for a new (to me) publication called Collegiate Parent (, and have had two articles published there. I loved most of the work I did as a college counselor, and this gives me an outlet to further explore the subjects of interest to parents of college kids today.

–The one piece I submitted to Purple Clover was published this year, and I’m mentally composing a list of ideas for the future. I love writing for this site.

–After years of wishing and hoping, I was invited to participate in a panel with a celebrated group of local women writers (including Erika, mentioned above), and read an excerpt from my memoir, There Was a Fire Here. The reading occurred between the fires to the north and the more recent fires in Southern California. The timing was coincidental, but the fires were on everyone’s minds that evening. Thanks to EBUG for granting this wish!EBUG reading night

— And I was delighted to have my book, published in 2016, reviewed here. My thanks to Elizabeth Fishel and Wendy Martin for their support, encouragement, and kind words.

–Once again, I had the opportunity to attend and then write about the Telluride Film Festival at The article is embellished with trailers and such. Some of the films are out now, but a few are not. Sneak previews!

— A humor I piece I submitted (and nearly forgot about) was selected to be included in the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop humor anthology, available next spring. I’ll be attending the EBWW  this April, giving me the opportunity to hobnob with fellow (sister?) writers and meet more contributors, while surrounding myself with some terrific folks who also love cake.

–I have recently discovered a new outlet for short pieces based on writing prompts called Retrospect. It’s been fun to give this new (to me) site a try. So far, I’ve had three pieces published there and look forward to submitting more in the new year. (If you are a Beatles fan, read this one!)

–When people ask me what I’m working on now, I again borrow from a fellow (and there must be a better word!) writer, and say “I’m composting.” Thanks, Mary Volmer, for making it sound like staring at a blank screen or looking out the window is part of a process.

As I look back over the year, I can see that a lot of energy was expended off the page, what with one thing and another. I hope that in the coming year I’ll be able to focus outward, keep moving, and find more outlets for writing. Also: stay/get healthy, think positively, and find the words I know are here, waiting to be discovered and shared.


Onward to 2018!



*Removal of a benign tumor in my upper jaw, called ameloblastoma, aka The Fiendish Thingy

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The Boys are Back in Town!

I had not assigned a gender to my teeth prior to this post. For all I know, they are girly teeth–but the point is I got my new long-term temporary obturator today, and it includes facsimiles of my dearly departed molars. I’m sure it’ll take some time getting used to having teeth up there afterContinue Reading

One Fine Day

I don’t want to forget that this happened, finally. One fine day this week, I woke up and didn’t feel different, didn’t hurt anywhere, didn’t think about the strange new arrangement inside my mouth. I just woke up, opened my eyes, and thought about what I wanted to get done that day. It was theContinue Reading

Numb and Number: Or, Healing is Not for Sissies

It’s now been five weeks since my surgery. Although I look almost normal, with some visible swelling on the right side of my face, I still feel as though I am wearing one of these: I can tell the numbness is going away by the sometimes tingly, sometimes sharp messages I’m getting from the nervesContinue Reading

Healing Update: In Which we observe Changes That Have Occurred in the two-plus weeks after surgery

Some things are the same, and a few have changed, slightly. Same: numbness, sensitivity, eating/swallowing related challenges, and getting used to the obturator. I have been getting better at taking it out for cleaning and putting it back in, and was reminded of the story about Eeyore’s unhappy birthday. No one can throw a pityContinue Reading

An Update on the Fiendish Thingy

As  friends and family are aware, I had surgery one week ago today to remove a benign tumor from my upper jaw. I’ve written about this tumor before, a couple of times. It may be too much information, but here is a health update on the ameloblastoma that I refer to as “the fiendish thingy.”(AndContinue Reading