WILD: The Journeys of Our Youth

Like many, I had been hotly anticipating Cheryl Strayed’s memoir WILD, about her solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. I had been so hotly anticipating it, and reading so much about the hottness of others’ anticipation, that I got a little worried. How could it live up? And there were points in the first, oh, thirty pages or so when I was almost…

Talking to Lisa Carver

I recently interviewed Lisa Carver for The Rumpus. We talked on the phone for two hours about her new book __________, which includes paintings she did as part of a memory-reclaiming process that led her to recall the torture, exploitation, and sexual abuse she lived through as a child. It’s a strange, heartbreaking, beautiful, raw, brave, informative, confusing, and emotional book. You can buy…

CURRENY is Traveling. I’m Staying Home.

This spring, we went back to Isla Mujeres for our second time as a family and my third time overall. I left a copy of Currency at PocNa, the hostel where I stayed when I visited the island as a backpacker round about 1995. In the book, I pasted the same note that I have in the other copies I’ve sent out into the…

My History with Heroines

This past Thursday, at the invitation of SheWrites co-creator Deborah Siegel, I appeared at Women and Children First bookstore along with Teri Coyne, Audrey Niffenegger, Amina Gautier, and Emily Gray Tedrowe as part of a panel exploring modern-day heroines. I could diagram that sentence to show about twenty different sources of personal gratification: Women and Children First, where I spent many longing hours in…

Yoga-Inspired I: Still Traveling

I’ve been practicing yoga off and on for over twenty years. When I’m in the zone of a good class, sensory memories of other places I’ve done yoga flow through me: Sheffield, England, where I took my first classes; the beaches of Thailand; the Ayurvedic retreat outside of Katmandu where I submitted to a rigorous treatment; a rooftop in Pokhara; a loft in old-school…

Made in Thailand

The excellent music/lit blog Largeheartedboy allowed me to create a Currency play list for their Book Notes feature. I’ve always seen western music as playing an important part of Piv’s identity, and it certainly has been an important part of mine, so this was a fun assignment. For one of the entries, the song “Made in Thailand” by the Thai band Carabao,  I found…

Haven’t I Seen You Here Before?

(I posted this missive last week on The Nervous Breakdown last week, so if you read it there, skip this. If you haven’t heard of The Nervous Breakdown and you like to read short nonfiction on screen, you should totally check out the site. ) Getting ready for my recent trip to L.A., I told anyone who would listen that I’d never, ever been…

Freedom to Roam and Wrangle

First, the shameless self-promotion: If you haven’t yet heard, my novel CURRENCY is still pretty hot off the press. It’s an exciting yet thoughtful tale of love and adventure in Thailand. But don’t take my word for it! My dad says the same thing. So does the reviewer at The Traveler’s Library.  And—this just in—the reviewer at NewPages. Please read it. If you’ve read…

Smoking: A Dream Come True

It’s settled: The release party for CURRENCY is going to be at The Hideout on May 16, from 5:00-7:00. A string of exclamation marks cannot express how unduly happy I am. During the last few months, it’s seemed that the securing of this particular venue has had about as many ups and downs as my decade-long struggle to get the novel published. You know,…

In Which I Consider Thai Prophylactics

So I last wrote about my first day traveling truly alone in Thailand, in which I was tricked into lodging at the wrong guesthouse, hit up for money by an odd teenager, and hounded by tuk-tuk drivers as I attempted to tour the ruins by foot, only to end up by late afternoon drinking with the same tuk-tuk drivers at the undesired guesthouse. If…