This is an eclectic site which features my interest areas. The home page, at this time, displays my new books and an opportunity to sign up for newsletters. My blog is the more active part. Lately I mostly blog about writing but other topics include fantasy fiction, dreams, the natural world and schools. I may touch on aspects of community and culture as inspired. These themes are woven into my fiction (for example, community gardens).
I am an amalgam, as are we all. I have a great deal of graduate education. I do love to learn. I actually didn’t know if I’d ever go on to get a Masters, much less to nearly complete a Ph.D. Now I have three MAs. Each degree has been its own journey and I would not dispense with any.
I put myself through my first undergraduate degree from UCLA in Linguistics. As you’ll know from my fiction series, Braided Dimensions, I’m passionate about language. There is a certain magic to creating a bridge to someone merely by sharing language. Writing systems have fascinated me since childhood, as do symbols in general.
San Francisco State’s Ed Tech MA program was an opening into a different kind of magical power: designing multimedia. The degree led to the most fulfilling work I’ve ever done, in Berkeley schools. I loved conceiving of projects, helping segue teachers into new empowerment, at times enlivening and expanding their horizons. I hope to convert some of their projects to show at this site someday. They’re saved on some very old tech storage systems!
When the grant ended, I went on to a Ph.D. program in Communication Studies. The endeavor had many unexpected consequences. As I strove to write coherently about a study I conducted in San Diego high schools with 300 students, I found myself reaching deeply for the genius to write an amazing dissertation that would bring change to modern schools. In my frustration, sent in circles by my advisers, I discovered the large body of literature on the psychology of writing. This brought me back to my interest in depth psychology, Jungian dream study, etc…
There is nothing like stress to push growth, especially when one is being reflective, searching deeply. I grew in intense ways during those nearly eight years of research and writing, partly because of the terrors raised by trying to accomplish what my committee asked for, while fighting to convey a progressive message. Caught between a sense of inadequacy and a real discordance with those in charge of my progress, I read extensively on inner work, joined numerous online discussion groups, and took part in spiritual activities with Circle of Aradia in Los Angeles. The first years of the Ph.D. program had stretched my mind toward philosophy and political economy; I felt a need to establish balance.
In the last months before I left the Ph.D. program without the letters behind my name, I had a beautiful dream I call “Renaissance Woods” (see collage/painting below) in which an Englishman, my close and loving companion, begs me to do what he wants and points to a table in the forest full of writing and art materials.
Directly after that dream, I wrote the short story of Braided Dimensions, which won an international writing contest in a newsletter based in Belgium, which I turned into a fantasy fiction series of the same name.
When I left the Ph.D. program, feeling defeated and incomplete, I took a job on Mendocino Coast that was unrelated to education. It was soothing to live in forest near wild northern beaches. As I worked at an elegant inn, then a raw food chef school, and finally, as a home visitor to mostly Latino families with infants. I began turning my short story into a novel.
The stressful previous years must have become rich compost for fiction writing; it felt like a font that must rise and pour out of me. I based the present of the books in the town where I lived and as I went through my work days, I stepped between worlds, just as my main character does in the novel. Her conflicts with her job in a university arose from my own and thereby helped to heal my still aching heart from my defeat in the Ph.D. program. I took long walks on the beach, stepping into my story as I gamboled along in nature, coming back home to write in my studio.
The healing of the rural environment and my fiction writing did not suffice. As many Jungian writers point out, we reach a point in life when we keep needing to find meaning. My study of depth psychology had just begun. I entered a unique Masters program specifically in Jungian depth psychology, in a public college. The program closed five years later.
Through the beautiful experiences of the program and in the process of my culminating project, Female Alchemist, I gained many tools that serve my current work and life.
Current Work and Life
Life has its ways of circling around. I still work in education, teaching in public schools, in Special Education. I love being involved, in service as it were, and balancing that with creative endeavors such as fiction writing and dream work.
In this dream, which I had when working in a high school, having conflicts with admin, I say the words, “Every place elegant has a hiding place.” There was very little elegance to that job, but there’s an elegance to trying our hardest. In trying, we create vulnerability. What part of you do you hide, when you try your hardest? Who is there with you, or do you feel alone? I think the strongest part of studying depth psychology is the growing sense of connecting with Self. When we can watch for those moments of coniunctio, spotting something in our psychic shadow that we’ve been projecting rather than owning, we see ourselves in a new way, building a stronger ego-Self axis to work from and face life with.