A. federal investigator, art teacher, nanny
A. South Eugene High School then to Brown University
A. The dryer.
A. The Graduate. Grizzly Man.
A. Six Feet Under. Mad Men.
A. Why do this when you can write a whole memoir?
A. Dim sum, a noisy walk downtown, then the beach with my dog to hunt for sand dollars.
A. On a windy cliff overlooking the Pacific.
A. My great-grandmother with her feathered hats.
A. I am not built to have heroes, only friends.
A. Apparently I use sparkly and secret a lot. I have to go back and take these out.
A. It's a sparkly secret.
A. I would be a country music singer with all the bangles and boots.
A. Hm. I hope I haven't achieved it yet.
A. I'm not telling.
A. I have very thin fingers.
A. I don't know. Maybe...an underwater rock in a tropical sea.
A. No one I have asked while filling this out will tell me.
A. I don't have one.
A. Humbert Humbert.
A. My mind doesn't really work like this--but I have always wanted to go to one of those parties in the Great Gatsby. And maybe I would like to go out to tea with Emily Holmes Coleman. I'd want her to try and tell me about that stint she wrote about in The Shutter of Snow. I bet it would be a wild tea party, full of gasps and hands waving.
A. Messy toothpaste tubes and being too close to people on public transit or in the gym.
A. Cooking and hiking with my dog.
A. Again, I would be a country music star with bangles and boots.
A. Honesty, curiosity, wit.
A. Dim sum.
A. This changes so often, but since I was able to talk, I've loved Johnny Cash.
A. When my mother was dying after a nine year (lost) battle with cancer, I returned home to Oregon from the San Francisco Bay Area where I had lived for a number of years. I'd already returned home that summer, and was frustrated that I had to keep upending my life, even though I adored my mother and knew I wanted to be with her at the end. I was in graduate school at San Francisco State at the time, writing fiction. But when I went to Oregon, it was like all of those imaginary people, their imagined lives and loves and dogs and dinners--they just didn't matter. I would sit with my journal and play with the pen until someone needed me to deal with medications or make soup. Finally, a professor of mine asked me why I didn't just write down what was happening around me. She allowed me to forget about my attachment to fiction for a while, and this was the beginning of The Mercy Papers. I started it up there in my childhood bedroom three weeks before I lost my mother.