My personal motto is “Forward!” which sounds inspirational but is vague enough for a sizable amount of wiggle room, which suits me fine. Sometimes “Forward!” means onward to a new adventure and sometimes its just the direction to the couch.

I tend to describe myself as “looks great on paper”– which is true. When I write, “Tattooed mother of five, former small business owner, writer, ultra-marathoner, and world traveller” it does wonders for my ego; especially on the days when I’ve eaten nothing but toast and cookies and can’t remember when I last washed my hair.

Melanie & KirkI’m a relentlessly tough self-critic, but have been married to a man who, for twenty years and despite all evidence to the contrary, thinks I am the greatest thing since Pong. (Look it up, young ‘uns.) He is convinced that, via my natural brilliance, I will one day become a huge success and make a million dollars. He says it so often and with such glee that I’m starting to think he’s only sticking around for the alimony.

In my heart of hearts, I wish I had been born Usain Bolt’s equally talented older sister, instead of what I am; a solidly built, German farm girl from Wisconsin. Despite my love of distance running my body refuses to be molded into the willowy athleticism of my dreams. In fact, every new endeavor that one would think, logically, would end in me losing weight generally turns out to have the exact opposite effect. Thus, my quest for self improvement is going to lead, inevitably, to my being buried in a piano crate. Not that I’m bitter.

It’s taken a long time to cop to the whole writing thing. Despite the fact that I started writing back in high school and continued straight through to today, writing for local papers, online sites, etc, I never considered myself a member of that particular tribe. Nothing I write seems Terribly Important. While other writers are putting down gorgeous prose dedicated to life’s large questions and our universal longing for meaning, I’m over here, tapping out complaints about my hideous race photos and cat vomit. Not exactly James Joyce. But it has occurred to me that what I always look for when I’m reading is that sense of connection to another person. To see that glimmer of recognition in their stories. In a way, I feel much more connection to the oral tradition than the written– and by “oral tradition” I mean, “sitting on the couch with your best girlfriend, drinking more red wine than is prudent and laughing your damn asses off.” Which is the kind of honesty I try always to bring when I’m putting words on paper. So basically, the whole thing is just an attempt to make the entire world my girlfriend…It helps if you’ve been drinking.

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