The daughter of a U.S. Naval officer, I realized, one night during a writing workshop exercise, that I have lived in well over 30 houses—in Spain, on the east coast of this country, and in Wyoming. I would like to say that journaling and diaries sustained me during those many and tumultuous transitions, but it was, actually, my rock collection. I no longer collect rocks as specimens. Instead, as I hike on the western prairies, hills, and peaks, I add to the rock cairns that are frequent on the trails. I even have tiny cairns in my house. To me, they are something spiritual. Of course, I eventually, and sometimes reluctantly, allowed writing in my life, and it has provided me sustenance.
Since I was in first grade, and I’m not lying here, I wanted to be a teacher. For most of my life, I have done just that—teach. My classrooms were in colleges and public schools and, for a brief but zany time, a pre-school full of three- and four-year olds. My concentration was in English, speech, and drama, but one assignment took me into a basic auto mechanics course and another into a welding workshop. The exchange of knowledge was mutual—my students learned writing skills, and I learned how to keep my old 60s-ish Barracuda running and to weld a basic joint.