Writer’s Digest: 5-Minute Memoir

My “5-Minute Memoir”  is out in the March/April issue of Writer’s Digest! Check out the issue at Horizon Books, Brilliant Books and BAM in Traverse City. Here’s a PDF online for my essay “The Last Page.”


I love this Writer’s Digest. If you are a (real, imagined, wannabe, professional, pubbed or unpubbed) writer, you should be reading this publication!

The essay is about losing my mom and how it changed my writing. It was a hard essay for me to write. I wrote it in an afternoon, barely edited it and sent it off before I could change my mind. It was too personal!

I sent it to them in August. Months passed and I forgot about it, relieved, so far-fetched was the idea that it would be published. Then I got an email in November from a “Zac” at Writer’s Digest. I deleted it on my iPhone. I thought it was spam.

When I (finally) realized that Zac was real and in fact the Senior Managing Editor, I flipped out. I wanted to be in my favorite magazine so, so much. I was excited and flattered and shocked… and terrified.

This essay was too sad and too personal. I didn’t want my sisters to read it. I didn’t want my dad to read it. I didn’t want anyone to read it. I couldn’t even re-read it when they sent me a galley proof. I asked for a couple extra days to get back to them on any changes just so I could prepare myself to face the loss again.

But when I finally brought myself to read it, I felt the sadness (shitloads, as my dad would say) but I saw, too, that it was a tribute to my mother, her laughter and her love, her pancakes and her venison stew. I was glad I’d written it, every word of it true.

For now I am settling for this PDF, but I am stalking the mail lady every day, waiting for my hard copy of the magazine to arrive. I hope you’ll read it. And I hope my mom is reading, too.

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