When I graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism in 1985, I figured I’d end up back in Chicago where I grew up. Instead, I am living on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
My husband and I moved to Kauai for one year, or so we told our family. We sold a four-bedroom house and all its contents. I sold a successful advertising and public relations firm and shipped my computer, camping gear, two dogs and little else besides my address book of New York editor contacts. That was in 1999.
I landed my first freelance magazine assignment with Fitness magazine, mostly because the editor was an alumna of my alma mater. More assignments came: Weight Watchers, Healthy Living, Backpacker, Sports Afield, Golf for Women, Running Times, Islands, Canoe & Kayak, among others.
Somewhere along the way, I ventured to Antioch University Los Angeles periodically and collected a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, and my husband built us a home. The dogs we flew to Hawaii with us enjoyed a long life but eventually died, and we adopted two more. I discovered I liked birds–Laysan albatrosses, in particular–and Hawaiian monk seals and humpback whales and conservation work.
My writing has taken a turn for place, primarily the people and places of Hawaii. I have contributed to Hawaii magazine, Hawaiian Airlines’ Hana Hou, Islands, and, when offered a great salary with full benefits and an expense account for travel, took a position as staff writer for OutriggerHawaii.com, where you’ll find dozens of my bylined feature stories and six years of blog posts for the View from Here blog. (But things change quickly on the Internet, and I think they’ve ditched all my stories by now; but I promise, every word was a pearl;-)
I quit the Best Job in the World in April of 2014 because of some pesky creative projects that wouldn’t shut up. Now, I find myself a freelancer again and writing, mostly, about the cool science being done in Hawaii–adding National Geographic, The Atlantic’s CityLab, Smithsonian, Audubon and Popular Science, among others, to my portfolio of clips. Sometimes I write blog essays. More often, I don’t. When I do, you’ll find stories, experiences, and, sometimes, rants about life in Hawaii, my travels–wherever they may take me–and the people and animals I meet along the way. Since the pandemic, I’ve journeyed into the realm of fiction with short shorts in places like Bending Genres, Hawaii Pacific Review, Flash Flood Journal, and Emerge Literary Journal.
I saw an albatross smoking a cigar,
and thought of you…
What a beautiful piece in the Honolulu Magazine!
And what a gift to the Twain World that you have
focused your considerable talents on Samuel Langhorne Clemens.
The also enormously talented Kathy Collins and her Nevada
sidekick will be presenting “Mark Twain’s Letters
from the Sandwich Islands” on your fair Island on the
second of May. I would be quick to offer you
and James Caron complimentary tickets, but they
won’t let me anywhere near the ticket booth.
I’d very much enjoy talking to you about our mutual
friend and the influence the Land of Aloha had
upon his contribution to American literature…
Your friend in History, histrionics & humor,
Yes, let’s get together and smoke an albatross and watch a cigar take flight. Indeed. For sure. You know it.
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