Author Archive
The Velveteen Rabbit (or How Empathy Becomes Real)

The Velveteen Rabbit (or How Empathy Becomes Real)

As I wandered around a local craft festival last November, my mind was on my seven-month-old niece. I wanted to give her a Christmas gift that was thoughtful, soft, and sweet. When I’d almost given up hope, I spotted a small stand outfitted with handmade stuffed animals that, upon further inspection, were all velveteen. I picked out a gray rabbit with long, floppy ears. I envisioned the little girl snuggling up to her new sleeping companion, a subtle yet constant reminder of her loving aunt. Unfortunately, this idyllic picture would not come to pass. A few weeks after I bought the bunny, I got a phone call from my brother that irrevocably changed our relationship.

The Pendulum of Curiosity: Why I Am a Writer

The Pendulum of Curiosity: Why I Am a Writer

I recently came to the realization that my life is full of extremes, and those extremes facilitate my work as a writer. This revelation struck while I was sitting in bed on a Saturday night, simultaneously editing an e-learning course on fair housing laws and watching the America’s Cutest Cat countdown on Animal Planet. This brief indulgence in the hilarious and heartwarming antics of curious cats provoked a moment of self-reflection. I was compelled to consider the ways my own curiosity drives me, personally and professionally. Writers are known to be troublemakers, after all — though perhaps this is an unfair casting unless viewed in the right sort of light.

Transforming a Culture of Violence

Transforming a Culture of Violence

Last month after a dinner, I was sitting in my friend’s car, and for the first time in our two-year relationship, we discussed our shared experience of growing up with abusive fathers and abused mothers who did nothing to save us. Recently, I’ve been making an effort to be more transparent about the experiences I had growing up, opening up in ways that go beyond the obligatory statement that my dad isn’t a nice man. “How do you explain this to people?” I asked my friend. “How do you explain that you were terrorized by your parent when you were a kid, continue to endure their abuse as an adult, and still go out of your way to help and care for them?” My friend, who finds himself in oddly similar circumstances to mine, replied, “You can’t explain it. It’s cultural.”