What do you say?

“You have great hair.”

I was putting down my yoga mat at the studio. I turned to the woman who had spoken to me, she was sitting on the floor, stretching. I had never met her before.

“Pardon me?” I asked.

“You have great hair.”

My hair had been up in a ponytail all morning because I had been writing – fighting, really – a troublesome section of my new book and so now that my hair was out long, it had that weird kink in the middle where I had secured the elastic too tight. As I was writing, I had thought maybe the words would come more easily if I could feel some air on the back of my neck. It hadn’t really worked.

My last haircut was seven months ago. I’ve recently started using this special shampoo in an attempt to combat my eternally oily scalp and it leaves the ends of my hair feeling dry. But I hadn’t even washed my hair in two days. Continue reading

Authentic creativity at Hippocamp: a whole fancy PowerPoint talk

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I’m super excited about the Hippocamp nonfiction writers conference in Lancaster, PA this weekend! I’ll be giving a talk about how to find your own unique creativity: how to refine it,  own it, and how to make sure you never get blocked from it. I’ve got PowerPoint slides full of embarrassing old photos, helpful tips and cartoons. It’s gonna be fun.

There are still some tickets to the conference available, so come hang out and talk about words with me and a whole bunch of extraordinary writers.

And no promises, but last year at this conference – they had a mashed potato bar.

Just saying.

with love,


(If your school, conference or company is interested in having me come speak – you can see my speaking kit and contact me for more information.)

Embrace Your Weird event tonight in Virginia

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Hi all,

I’m thrilled to be giving a talk tonight in Charlottesville, Virginia. The event is called Embrace Your Weird: from Anxiety to Authenticity and it’s based on the new book that I am writing. There is even a whole fancy Power Point thingy.

Many of us are afraid to talk about anxiety, depression and panic attacks – it’s about time we change that. This talk is a deeply personal exploration of mental health, told with compassion and humor. It’s a hopeful, entertaining and enlightening look at the root causes of anxiety, the results of the latest research and ideas for how to manage stress in your own life.

The event is free and open to the public, as part of Retreat Week at Ix Art Park. For more information and to RSVP, please click here. 

And in case you were wondering, yes, I’m feeling very anxious about giving an anxiety talk. But I’m gonna to do it anyway.

with love,



New online memoir writing class – just posted!


Gracie, preparing her teaching assistant duties for class

I’m teaching another session of my online memoir writing class though Writing Pad!

The class is for writers of all levels. If you have never written more than a grocery list, that’s cool. If you have a couple books under your belt, that’s cool, too. I’ve got you covered. We’ll do interesting exercises, read wonderful writers, and talk a whole lot about books, process and structure. You will also have the chance to share your writing and get feedback and help.

No grades. No red pens. You’ll just learn how to get your story down on paper and we always have a whole lot of fun along the way.

The class is online, so log on from anywhere and use your webcam – it looks like The Brady Bunch – everyone gets a square. We can all see each other and it creates a great feeling of community and connection. (And yes, we all hate the webcam for the first four and a half minutes. Then we get over it. Because no one actually cares if your hair looks good or if you are wearing a bra. Who wears a bra on a Sunday afternoon, anyway?) Continue reading

Why you are never old enough to be too old

I am so old. 
I’ve been working at the same job for eighteen years. What else can I do? 
I am definitely too old.

This was my constant inner monologue. 

When I was twenty-two.

I was an actor, living in the epicenter of our youth-obsessed culture: Los Angeles. Other people might have defined me as “successful” but success was a mirage that inevitably dissolved every time it seemed like I could grasp it. I signed autographs while out at restaurants or late for my root canal. But I got to a point where the joy was drained out of me. I was barely old enough to order a cocktail, but I felt ancient and hollow.

I assumed that my existence would always revolve around movies. Since I was four, my life had been wardrobe calls, accent coaching, and craft services – acting became my identity. It was the only thing I knew how to do.  Continue reading

Looking back: lessons of 2015

I tend to be a pensive person anyway, but the fact that Christmas, my birthday and New Years all cram into one week – I go into major reflective mode.

It was a complicated year in many ways. But isn’t that how it always goes? Ups and downs, success and challenges, joy and suffering. But I learned some important things this year:

Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable can have some serious rewards


Continue reading