Category Archives: There Was a Fire Here

The Writing Year in Review: 2018

I did this last year and it helped me see that I had been slightly more productive than I thought. Let’s see what happened this past year in my writing life…

A look  back at what I wrote in 2018:

  • A number of pieces for Retrospect, which are listed on my Articles and Interviews page here. This was a wonderful opportunity to reach back and respond to a variety of prompts. All told, I published 32  essays on this website. Sadly, Retrospect is no longer an option for this sort of personal essay: the kind and generous founders have moved on. The links I’ve included will be good for another month or so, but I hope to find a solution to keep them available  to read.
  • I did fewer pieces for Berkeleyside than I would’ve liked, but there are several I’m very pleased with: the one about The Kingfish, and the round-ups I did this year about boozy slushies and milkshakes, and one about warm drinks for the holiday season. I do love these assignments!
  • I had a piece published in Longridge Review, called “Visions of LaDonna.” This is a story I’ve been thinking about writing for years, so I’m especially pleased that my story was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.Such an unexpected honor!
  • A  piece I wrote about a long-ago diner that I used to sneak out to visit during my senior year of high school was accepted for a new Hippocampus anthology to be published late fall/early winter of this year. The working title is Greasy Spoon: Bottomless Coffee, Homefries & Pie and Other Things We Love About Roadside Diners. My piece is called “Pancakes at the Shutter Cafe.”
  • I attended a week-long master class at Hedgebrook in the fall, which inspired me to revisit some stuff that has been “composting” for a while. It may be time to dig out the old notes and drafts to see if there is some life there. The week of living a writer’s life in a lovely cottage in the woods was wonderful, restorative, and affirming.
  • The anthology, Laugh Out Loud  (edited by Allia Zobel Nolan) made its debut at the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop which I attended this  year. The anthology brings together a bunch of funny women writers, celebrating “then and now before we forget.” My piece has to do with the old expression “putting my face on,” something I didn’t understand until I did.
  • I wrote an update on my ameloblastoma saga, which was published in You and Me Magazine. They kindly included all three of my submissions about this weird journey.
  • While sales of my book, There Was a Fire Here seem to have tapered off since its release in 2016, I was delighted to find out that one of my granddaughter’s  friends asked for (and received) a copy for Christmas. I understand there was a conversation between the two girls that included a mention of “my grandmother’s book,” so I thank Maddy for being part of the team! Sadly, last year saw many families go through what we did because of catastrophic fires from one end of the state to the other. I can only wonder if they might want to write their stories too. It certainly helped me see more clearly what really matters.


So there it is: a look at the published work of 2018. I’m hoping to write a few more pieces about the old bars of the East Bay. It’s Barstool History: a genre I just made up.

Happy New Year!

do not disturb



The Writing Year in Review: 2017

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A Book Review

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Button, button . . .

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