Posts from the ‘Writerly’ Category

The Return

  • I posted an essay on summer camp (with a bit of an announcement contained therein) over on tumblr this morning. Have a read if you wish!

Adventures with the Magnificat! (Sermon, Dec. 20, 2015)

On December 20th, I had the privilege of vesting up and preaching at the Church I work part time at. It was a lot of fun, and I was so pleased that my sermon about Mary made an impact on the parishioners. Reading the Magnificat so many times in the few days before, during, and after when I was preaching filled my soul with such joy and gladness!

The Magnificat has always been one of my favorite pieces of Scripture, but I have a few other very special reasons for loving Mary and appreciating Marion devotion in the Episcopal tradition. Take a listen, and you’ll learn why!

The Adventures of Mo. Lauren and Fr. Kenny

Hello Friends!

We have a bit of a treat this week, we had a guest preacher at church, Ms. Anjelica Whitehorne!  For various reasons, I had a swamped week, so Anjelica offered to preach, and the text happened to be one of her all time favorites, Mary’s Magnificat from Luke (1:39-55).  She did a great job, take a listen as we learn about Mary:

Anjelica’s Sermon, Luke 1:39-55, Advent 4, Year C, Dec. 20, 2015

Next week, you will have more from me, until then, Merry Christmas!

-Mo. Lauren

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Role Reboot

It occurred to me that I linked my essay “The Year I Was Diagnosed With Lupus” to here, but that I never actually told you the circumstances of how I started reading Role Reboot and why I was so interested in publishing with them (and have been interested in doing so for the last year).

I first discovered Role Reboot after I started reading Emily Rapp’s Little Seal Blog. I believe I found Little Seal after Taylor Swift released her song “Ronan” about a different Ronan. I loved Rapp’s writing, and so I googled her and found her first book, and then the essays that she has published with Role Reboot and other places, as well. I liked that Role Reboot didn’t shy away from the nitty gritty of life, because that is what life is for many people: situations that you wish were different but are powerless to change.

I like reading about people who have atypical experiences. In Star Trek, the Vulcans say, “Infinite diversity in infinite combination,” and I believe that to be true of people, though there are experiences that are universal, each person experiences things differently. Sometimes, media can be so monotonous that it feels as though the same things happen over and over and over. To find a place where people were writing about things I’d never experienced was an incredible joy.

My experiences of life have also been quite different. Most 24 year olds don’t undergo treatment for their third autoimmune disease. Most 24 year olds aren’t incapacitated by their symptoms. So a year ago, when I first wrote things that didn’t quite fit with my memoir on chronic illness, my first thought was that maybe they were things that could be adapted for publication by Role Reboot. Almost a year later, I had an essay, not one of the pieces I’d written a year earlier, but an essay that worked on the same themes as the pieces of a year ago, published by Role Reboot, and I was ecstatic. Chronic illness isn’t a subject that many journals will broach. It is depressing. It is difficult. It is fraught. And it is scary. But I didn’t think that that would be a problem in this case. I submitted to Role Reboot first, and told myself that they would reject it. But if they had rejected it, I had no idea where else to submit it with any hope of publication.

When I heard that Role Reboot had accepted my essay, then entitled ‘The Lupus Year’, I was ecstatic.

I am so happy to be back to feeling like a writer, and I am hopeful that this coming academic year will bring more essays published, and perhaps… Perhaps it will even bring a book deal (I HOPE).

Elephant Journal

I find a lot of literary magazines and online journals I never new existed because my friends are being published by them.

In the spring, a friend of mine from grad school posted a link to a piece she wrote that was published by Elephant Journal. I thought the name was cool, but didn’t know anything about them. She’s published more pieces with Elephant Journal since then, and about a month ago I became a member so that I could read as many of their pieces each day as I wanted. I also got stickers, which were quite a draw towards membership.

One thing that I really like about Elephant Journal is that it is a very open journal, writing about eco-friendly, green, wellness, and practices such as yoga. From their About Page: “The mindful life is about yoga, organics, sustainability, conscious consumerism, enlightened education, the contemplative arts, adventure, bicycling, family…everything. But mostly it’s about this present moment, right here, right now, and how we can best be of benefit, and have a good time doing so.” What a beautiful notion upon which to found a journal!

I don’t do yoga–I am way too clumsy, but enough of my friends do that I am not entirely lost in that world. I do eat organically as much as possible. I try to be conscious about my purchases, and to educate others. I grew up in a separate culture from my peers, even though we lived in the same communities at the same time. I think what I love about Elephant Journal is that it feels like home to so many different varieties of outsiders, and for writers, it seems to say, You are different, and we welcome you.

If you are able to support Elephant Journal (a readers’ membership is just $13 a year), I urge you to consider doing so. If you are not, I encourage you to give their articles a read from time to time. You never know when you will find an article that impacts your life!

The Year I Was Diagnosed With Lupus – Role Reboot

The Year I Was Diagnosed With Lupus – Role Reboot.


The Year I Was Diagnosed With Lupus, my essay published by Role Reboot.

I was 23, and a newly minted Master of Fine Arts, when I left my family in New York to join the Creation Care program at Camp Mokule’ia in Waialua, O’ahu, Hawai’i. Creation Care was an 11-month-long program, and one of a number of faith-based internships run by the Episcopal Service Corps. The program was everything I’d wanted, and though I was terrified to leave my family for such a long period of time, I tried to remain focused on the fact that I would be living in a tropical paradise for 48 weeks…

Continue reading my essay over on Role Reboot!

Born With Teeth

Hello, all! 

My favorite thing this week is actually a combination of a book, an audiobook, and an event that I went to. As many of you know (as anyone who has ever been in a room with me does), I am a hardcore Star Trek fan. I literally cut my teeth on Star Trek, teething as I watched The Next Generation with my mom. I liked Deanna Troi, the Enterprise’s Counselor, played by Marina Sirtis. Mom and I also watched Deep Space Nine, and then Voyager was advertised. And it was to be the first Star Trek series depicting a female captain. I was hooked. I watched the first episode, Caretaker apart 1, in complete awe. Captain Janeway was a scientist, a captain, and she was so strong, dignified, graceful, and still feminine and maternal. She was my hero. Over the seven years of Voyager’s run, I found a hero in Kate Mulgrew, who so wonderfully brought Janeway to life. 

I began to watch her other shows, and admired Mary Ryan, and Margaret from Throw Momma From The Train, which I think will always remain one of my favorite movies. After Voyager ended, I was gutted, but then Mulgrew committed to Tea At Five. I learned all about Katharine Hepburn, reading her memoir, Me: The Stories of My Life, and watching her films. I also read the autobiography of Audrey Hepburn, and watched her films, and found her grace inspiring and her struggles similar to some of my own.

I was 11 when my father died, and when I was 13, I went to Christian sleep away camp. It was the summer of 2003, and I was in grief that I didn’t know how to process or live with. I wanted to see Tea At Five before it left New York, but my baby sister was only 4, and I knew that my mom wouldn’t be able to take me. Before I left for camp, my neighbors/second parents/adopted grandparents/fairy Godparents took me into Manhattan, where we went to get tickets to the Tea At Five matinee. I hadn’t even packed for camp yet, which went over with my mother as well as you might imagine. 

I had been to see a Broadway show once, on a field trip, and had they bothered to tell us what the show was about, I might have enjoyed it. A lackluster first impression of the professional theater. But Tea At Five was magical. Mulgrew’s energy and the world that was created by the theater was intoxicating. 

You may wonder what any of this has to do with my favorite thing for the week, and I don’t blame you. Last year, I believe it was, it was announced that Mulgrew had sold a memoir to Little, Brown. I was delighted, and didn’t know how I would wait. Then, the title was released: Born With Teeth. Then, a cover: Mulgrew’s early headshot. The release date was set for April 14, 2015. So far away. 

I got an email from a friend of mine from grad school, saying I have something I want to give you. What’s your address? I replied quickly and then waited. When the mailer from her arrived, I had my theories about what it contained. I figured that it either had to be something from a class we’d taken together or a book. We did go to grad school for Creative Writing, after all. Everything was about books. 

I opened the mailer in the living room, while my sister and her home instruction English teacher were in the kitchen. And I tried not to scream and then ran upstairs to text and call and email and get some of my delight out. The mailer contained an ARC (Advance Readers Copy) of Born With Teeth. And it was amazing. 

I pre-ordered the Audio from Audible a while later, and then, having decided that I was going to her conversation and signing in Manhattan, cancelled my pre-order from Amazon, and instead bought the Kindle ebook so that I could read the book on release day with everyone else. I alternated reading and listening on release day, and on the train ride into Manhattan. 

I was a ball of nerves and excitement, and I tried to think of something that I could say while she was signing my book. I think it’s important to have that connection, however brief it is, to just get away from the commercial aspect and bring things back to the art. I had expressed my gratitude to Barbara Kingsolver and Terry Tempest Williams, and I intended to try to do the same thing at Mulgrew’s signing. 

Her reading was great, and the conversation was funny. She busted out Red’s accent and plugged Orange Is The New Black’s upcoming third season. She spoke of a favorite Voyager episode of hers, Death Wish, and summarized the plot, and Janeway’s ethical dilemma in the episode. She pointed out the people we were to “blame” for the book if it was without the merit she hoped it had. Her sister was in the audience and she pointed her out, and when she said something that people were shocked by, she would look at her sister and say, “Isn’t that right?” Needless to say, the event in question did occur. 

After questions, including one sent in by Taylor Schilling, we went up row by row for the signing. I was too nervous to say anything but thank you, so I suppose I will have to wait until the next tour, as I am indeed hoping that she will be writing and publishing again soon.