I live in Athens, Ga. This is coincidentally the same town in which I was born, grew up, graduated from UGA with degrees in journalism and French, and now live with my husband, son, enormous cat, and noble dog. I would probably mind this a lot more if Athens were a terrible place to live, but thankfully it’s a pretty incredibly wonderful place to live, so it all worked out.
This is the aforementioned cat. He’s a Maine Coon and called Mister Lewis Burrows. He is not the affectionate sort. I am impressed by our close proximity in this picture.
This is Brody, who is also a cinnamon roll. Sometimes a muffin.
I’m a middle school ELA teacher at Double Helix STEAM School, where I can indulge in my extreme love of grammar, writing, and contemporary MG/YA literature. My students (and I!) love reading work by Renee Watson, Jason Reynolds, Jewell Parker Rhodes, Haruki Murakami, Celia Perez, Pablo Cartaya, Tracey Baptiste, Jacqueline Woodson, Nnedi Okorafor and so much more…I do bring in older books, too, like “Watership Down,” an all-time favorite that makes me cry EVERY SINGLE TIME I get to the last pages. (Even now, I get a little sniffly, just thinking about it… Hazel! Fiver! El-ahrairah!) Oh, and Anne Frank’s diary, not the play. Oh! And the Bruchacs! And Grace Lin! And Ray Bradbury and Shirley Jackson and Alexandria Diaz and Rebecca Stead and Christopher Paul Curtis and Dianna Wynn Jones and Langston Hughes and Kwame Alexander and Soman Chainani and Alice Walker and and and and….
Oh yeah, I also teach poetry. Before COVID, it was Tea and Poetry. We brew tea and read poetry and talk about it and write our own poems! How great is that? Right now, the tea part is on hiatus. My thought is that we can read almost any poem together. We define new vocabulary words, read the poem a few times, think about it, share ideas, and read it again to see if it strikes any different chords. We remind ourselves that it’s OK not to understand a poem right away, that things may reveal themselves over time – or never – or all of a sudden. The stamina for frustration, that resilience for coming back to something again and again, is part of the lesson. And of course, we can enjoy language without knowing “what it means” – it’s like art that way! We managed to pack in a ton of poetry last school year – ee cummings, Joy Harjo, a little Auden and Brautigan (when appropriate! Most Brautigan ain’t), Marcus Jackson, Claude McKay, Ada Limon, Edna St. Vincent Millay, D.H. Lawrence, Angelo Geter, Jane Hirshfield, Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, Renee Watson, Alberto Rios, James Weldon Johnson, Juan Felipe Herrera, Effie Lee Newsome, Bruce Weigl, Nikki Wallshlaeger, Alexander Posey, Elaine Equi….lots more…anyone want to discuss poetry with me?
How was teaching during COVID, mostly outdoors in the Georgia heat (or else inside with no A/C in favor of open windows and box fans for better air circulation), battling mask compliance, teaching in-person and online students simultaneously in a historic building with poor wifi? Let’s not talk about that. Like, ever. Surviving it was more than enough.
Though I’m on a brief sabbatical, for the past 20 or so years I’ve worked as a professional aerialist at Canopy Studio, teaching adults and children the mind-blowing joy of aerial dance. I’m also a founding member of Canopy’s professional repertory company. I primarily work on single-point dance trapeze—an art pioneered by Terry Sendgraff, who was the teacher of my own mentor, Susan Murphy—though I have also performed on lyra, rope, and fabrics. You can read my professional aerial bio here!
I’m not super awesome with social media, but I do frequently update my Instagram!
COVID has changed all of us, and I’m currently trying to remember what it’s like to be me. Or a new version of me, somehow wiser and braver but mostly not feeling either of those things. So far, what works is: hiking in the woods, regaining enough attention span to read a book, drawing, knitting, and gardening.
Oh yeah, and writing! Writing books and stuff!
Thanks for visiting!