Essays

When a story takes form in my mind, I can’t help but put everything aside and write it down. Here is one excerpt from my novel and three, non-fiction essays. When these are published, I will provide links.

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Elena

This is an excerpt from my novel. It expands on the cross-cultural relationship between Michelle, the protagonist, and a Peruvian botanist she meets at the research cabin. Length, 2,800 words.

“Michelle contemplated the woman’s liquid-black eyes and perfectly arched eyebrows along with her distinctive, downturned nose. If the woman were to send a DNA sample to one of those ancestry centers, no doubt she would find Inca blood beneath her nutmeg-hued skin. Perhaps even the blood of Atahualpa, the last Inca Emperor. Though the woman wore a worn, blue tee-shirt and hiking shorts, her comportment was refined and graceful as she extended her hand in greeting.”

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Falling into Life

An essay about my adult daughter’s struggle with gastroparesis, a stomach-paralyzing illness, and her decision to conquer it through skydiving. Written jointly by myself and my daughter, Laurel Hargis, the essay presents our perspectives as mother and daughter about her condition. Length, 5,000 words.

“I’m beset with the frustrating knowledge that I don’t know how to help her. I love her, and I want to care for her as I did when she and her sister were young, by nurturing her with healthy food. Back then, I was the mom in the neighborhood who prepared every meal with fresh, raw ingredients. We never left the house without a contingency of carrots, celery, and cherry tomatoes.  That approach isn’t working anymore. I can’t fix my daughter’s problem with healthy meals. All I can do is sit by her side and watch her suffer. I feel like a one-trick pony.”

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Do You Know Where You’re Going?

An essay about my adventurous mother and our contrasting views of life and death. Length, 5,600 words. Currently in review.

“Dad’s death catapulted her into an orbit of freedom that spun her around the world several times over the next quarter century, in spite of countless ways that her body tried to fail her. She climbed peaks with a wheeze and descended in pain on contorted, arthritic feet. She suffered from infections, shingles, asthma, partial loss of hearing, and an enlarged heart. Yet she continued to adventure her way across the globe, often sleeping upright in a chair in her hotel room when a bout of asthma would not let her lay prone.”

 “The days of spiritual sparring with my mother were over. Faith had granted her a vaulting pole to leap over the hurdle of death into the afterlife, and I would not wrest that from her. As much as she loved the beauty of the Earth, she envisioned Heaven as even more glorious.”  

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Innocence on the Rocks, with a Twist

 A personal account of sexual harassment that caused me to lose my job. Non-fiction, 3,500 words. Currently in review.

“That was the winter I lost my innocence. Not in the way that we often use that term, our first sexual experience. I’m speaking of another kind of innocence, the naiveté of young women who encounter for the first time, sex in the workplace. The innocence of not knowing that the unseen print of the job description includes willingness to provide sexual favors.”

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