|Me and my son, Cedar, at our home|
Born and raised in Seattle, I grew up speaking English and Mandarin Chinese. Drawn to writing and multiculturalism since I was young, I first studied Russian at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN before realizing that I wanted to become fluent in my mother tongue. In 1996, I left school to backpack for six months through China. This trip helped shape the trajectory of my life, and upon returning to the States, I began studying creative writing, art, butoh, tai chi, and Buddhism through The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. During this period, I also published my first piece exploring bilingualism in THOUGHTS OUT OF SCHOOL (Peter Lang Publishing), and walked across the Pacific Northwest for one month to raise awareness about Tibet, delving further into a period of solitude, writing, and spiritual discovery.
Upon graduating in 1999, I returned to travel and live in China and Tibet. For the next several years, I immersed myself in the Chinese language and culture, entering a relationship with a Chinese painter, and teaching English on the side. I also planted the early seeds of writing for my memoir, LEARNING TO SPEAK (formerly Searching for the Heart Radical), which explores my journey to claim my voice, and to understand my cultural and spiritual identity, especially during those years of migration between China and America.
Upon returning to the States in 2002, I continued to work as an ESL teacher and I earned a MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Antioch University Los Angeles, where I studied with Brenda Miller, Sharman Apt Russell, Hope Edelman, and David Ulin. My work has appeared in publications such as the Seal Press anthology WAKING UP AMERICAN: COMING OF AGE BICULTURALLY, Los Angeles Review, Vela Magazine, Literary Mama, Duende, Raven Chronicles, Blue Lyra Review, and others. I am the recipient of residencies from Hedgebrook, Jack Straw, and Hypatia, and a 4Culture Individual Artist’s Grant.
Over the last ten years, I have read my work from coast-to-coast in venues such as the Seattle Art Museum and at the inaugural Courting Risk reading series, first held in New York City during AWP. While living in Olympia, I launched a series of writing workshops and readings (Write Now, Writing Compassion, and Renaming the Spiritual), and taught memoir at the Lacey Senior Center and at juvenile detention centers. Then, in 2008, I got married and moved back to Seattle, where I began teaching at venues such as Richard Hugo House and volunteering with 826 Seattle. I continue to be a student of writing, most recently attending workshops with Natalie Goldberg and Lidia Yuknavitch.
Giving birth in 2010 to my son, Cedar, radically changed the landscape of my life once again. The focus of my blog shifted during this time to concentrate on the intersection of writing, motherhood, paradox and love. I have since taught several online and in-person writing workshops, including Writing Motherhood, Writing Your Birth Story, and Writing Transformation. I also teach at the Hugo House and work one-on-one with writers as a mentor and editor.
Now I am in a more rooted phase of my life, and yet my daily awareness is still informed by my years spent traveling and living abroad, and sustained by the mindfulness teachings of Buddhism and other spiritual traditions. Staying present as I care for my child, my family, my home, my writing and my heart is my daily practice. I love to dance, be in nature, walk, read, and to share the gift of writing and self-discovery with others.