Doing the Love is Enough

I haven’t posted in my blog for over four months, which I’m sure is a new record. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to, it’s not that I haven’t started draft after draft… it’s that every time I sat down at my computer to work on a post, what I wanted to write seemed insignificant compared to what’s happening in our world. It seemed unimportant in the scheme of things. How could I, with my little creative writing corner of the internet, face up to the grand global disappointments or another unsympathetic executive order or further descent into madness. Beyond writing and teaching writing, my passions are the environment, child welfare and education, and human rights – which to me all fall under the umbrella of intersectional feminism. As the EPA was gutted,...

Help Her! She Spoke French!

Bonjour et bienvenue. A few months ago I started learning French via the website Duolingo. Anyone close to me knows just how amusing this is. I have a history of bludgeoning the French language. I’ve dropped out of two French courses. Small children have made fun of me for my particularly bad pronunciation. I can never keep the conjugations for “avoir” (to have) and “etre” (to be) straight. My husband is from Quebec and speaks lovely French. When we were visiting Montreal, strangers would address him in French and then turn to me and speak in English, as if the words “Don’t even try” were stamped on my forehead. When people spoke French around me, I was sure they were making fun of me. And still, I’ve always wanted to learn French. On the outside, I laughed...

Life Savers

“Our lived lives might become a protracted mourning for, or an endless tantrum about, the lives we were unable to live. But the exemptions we suffer, whether forced or chosen, make us who we are.” ~ Adam Phillips* When I was growing up, there was a Life Saver’s commercial featuring a little girl watching the sunset with her father and just after the sun slips down past the horizon, she whispers, “Do it again, Daddy.” I’ve always loved that commercial. I easily placed myself under that tree at sunset with my own Dad, who I believed knew everything. I hadn’t thought about that commercial for many years until after my father died. I was brushing my teeth when a vision popped into my head of myself on my own death bed, my father waiting for me on the other side,...

Queer as Folk

A few weeks ago I attended an art gallery opening for queer artists. I started chatting with a lovely, quirky woman about upcoming events for our local Pride Week. As we then talked about where we were from and the kinds of things I taught, she awkwardly fished for something else, but I wasn’t sure what she was getting at. Finally, she got flustered and said, “I’m trying to ask if you’re queer, but you’re obviously not, because you’re not picking up on any of the language.” “I don’t know the secret handshake either,” I deadpanned. She laughed and offered to demonstrate. She had caught me off guard. The thing was, neither “yes” nor “no” felt like the right answer. Neither would have been sufficient in expressing my personal journey nor revealing...

Road Trip Book Tour: Part Two

  WINNER of the ROAD TRIP book contest is DEBBY DODDS (how in the world could I resist a book about John Waters hitchhiking?). ~      ~      ~ The first Road Trip Book Tour post was more about the Road Trip, this post is more about the Book Tour itself. Even if you never plan to go on a book tour in your life, the information may be helpful in other ways. I’ve been book touring for six years. And for many years before I started, I led workshops in schools, conferences, and festivals, performed live spokenword, and produced literary arts events. I was used to organizing events, traveling around, and speaking in front of others. But doing these things may scare the pants off of you. It doesn’t have to. My tours are set up in collaboration with my publisher in...

ROAD TRIP BOOK TOUR: PART ONE* (PLUS a CONTEST!)

For the first time in my book touring life, I am going on a “road trip” instead of flying, training, busing, and rental carring. The Danika Road Trip is a special kind of road trip. Be forewarned when travelling with me. If I see a sign in Nebraska for the Pony Express Station or in Arizona for indigenous cliff dwellings, I will make a spontaneous side trip. World’s largest ball of twine? I’m there. If I get off schedule, I will drive until I can’t drive any more and sleep in my car. I bring camping gear in case there’s a mesa I have to climb and get tuckered out. I WILL take the scenic route if one is offered. I WILL take the road less travelled (I almost got stranded in the middle of New Mexico when a sudden rain storm turned the dirt road into a slick mud...

Blog Tour Begins! Guest Post and Giveaway.

    Today’s blog post on Perception and Intention can be found over at SMACK DAB IN THE MIDDLE – the first stop on my Book Four Blog Tour. In this guest post you’ll find the usual writing exercise PLUS one more way to win a physical copy of Narine of Noe.    Next Blog Tour Stop: Tuesday, Jan 12 Guest post on Roger Eschbacher Books    ...