Come See My Panel At AWP 2015

Filed under: Joy's Work — joy at 3:03 pm on Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Hey! I’m going to be speaking at AWP 2015 in Minneapolis this April. My panel is called “Yes, Writing Is a Job: People Who Get Paid To Write.”

Marcia Simmons, Ken Walker and Nora Maynard will be joining me. We’ll be talking about the ups and downs of being full-time writers. Here’s the official event description.

Yes, Writing Is a Job: People Who Get Paid To Write

Believe it or not, it’s possible to make a living writing. Four working writers from diverse backgrounds will talk about how they make ends meet through article writing, blogging, nonfiction books, and other projects. We’ll discuss how we get work, the financial realities of the publishing world, and our struggle to balance writing for money with creative endeavors that are closer to our hearts (but harder on our pocketbooks).

SO! I hope you will come see me speak in April. Come say hi if you do.

The 1970s Wallpaper Is Gone!

Filed under: Home and Garden — Administrator at 6:52 am on Wednesday, August 6, 2014

If you’ve been to my house, you know how much I hate the 1970s wallpaper on the dining room wall. Well, now it’s gone. We have painted over it.

Free at last, free at last.

8 Things That Happened In July

Filed under: Personal — Administrator at 7:40 am on Monday, August 4, 2014

July was jammed packed. It was the kind of month where at the end of the day you’ll remember something that happened and think, wait, that was this morning? because it feels like it was two days ago.

Here are 8 things that happened in July, according to my Twitter feed:

1. We found out that the NSA has flagged us for extra surveillance.

The month began with the upsetting news that the NSA has labeled people who read Linux Journal as extremists and has flagged them for extra surveillance. They’re doing this because of two anonymizing technologies called Tor and Tails, which the NSA apparently feels are “advocated in extremist forums.” Kyle has written about Tor and Tails in the past, so there’s a good chance we’re among the people being surveilled. That means the NSA is capturing our data and holding it indefinitely. Beyond that, who knows.

We found out about this right before the 4th of July, which put a damper on the holiday.

2. We rode bikes.

In June, Kyle gave me a tricycle. Then we got Kyle a bike and a trailer for Gideon to ride around in, and have been going on rides. I love bikes now.

3. We saw The Punch Brothers.

These musicians are masters at their craft. If you have a chance, you should check out this band.

4. We went to Petaluma Rivertown Revival.

This is an event to raise funds for the Petaluma river. There are lots of bands and food and everyone dresses up in steampunk for some reason. Corsets and mustaches abound. I petted a small alligator.

5. We went to a meadery.

We visited a meadery in Point Reyes. Here is a picture of the bees.

6. I visited the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa.

I learned a lot about Peanuts and Charles Schulz and have a new appreciation for the comic and the man who drew it.

7. I drank from this contraption.

This is a Kwak Belgian beer, and it was good. But also, I want this … glass? Mug? Science experiment? We’ll call it a glass.

8. We picked blackberries.

Such a plethora of riches at the side of the road right now. I already made jam. I might go again before the season is over and freeze some so we can have blackberry pie this winter.

In fact, I WILL do that.

How’s your summer going?

Article: 10 Crazy Creations of “Plant Wizard” Luther Burbank

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 7:13 am on Sunday, August 3, 2014

Did you catch my latest article in Mental Floss? It’s called 10 Crazy Creations of “Plant Wizard” Luther Burbank. It’s about white blackberries, thornless cactus, pitless plums, and the russett potato.

Even if you haven’t heard of Luther Burbank, you probably tasted his work the last time you ate a french fry. In the early 20th century, Burbank created over 800 varieties of fruits, flowers, and vegetables. The “Plant Wizard,” as he was called, had a unique approach to horticulture that was part Darwinism, part Thomas Edison. And while his failures often sound like something out of a sci-fi novel, we’re still eating many of his creations—inventions?—today.

READ 10 Crazy Creations of “Plant Wizard” Luther Burbank.

7 Things That Happened In June

Filed under: Inspiration — joy at 7:40 am on Sunday, June 29, 2014

Here are 7 things we did in June, according to pictures I put on Twitter.

1. For Marcia’s birthday, we went to Hog Island Oyster Company in Tomales. They raise the oysters right there, so they don’t get much fresher. You can eat them in the picnic area right by the bay. (Tip to save copious amounts of money: bring in your own food/drink for your picnic.)

2. Marcia also had a birthday picnic/party at Gustafson Winery.

3. Kyle and I went to the Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic, which served to foster my growing obsession fascination with hot air balloons. Here I am with Gideon.

4. For our 12th anniversary, Kyle surprised me with a tricycle. (I don’t know how to ride a regular bike.) So far I have ridden to a friend’s house and to the grocery store. It feels so much like riding a regular bike, I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not going to tip over. I like going down hills.

4b. Yesterday, Kyle bought a bicycle from a nice man in Glen Ellen. We’re going to get a bike trailer for Gideon and go on eccentric-looking family bike rides.

5. Last week, we took a road trip to San Diego. On the way there, we spent the night at San Luis Obispo. Here’s the view from the downtown mission at sunset.

6. We went to the San Diego Zoo. I do not like this zoo! First of all, it cost $90 to get in. Secondly, it feels like a theme park. Double-decker buses roar by you and zoo workers pester you about souvenir photographs. Except for the pandas, there aren’t any animals there you haven’t seen at any other zoo. If you want to see pandas, go to the National Zoo in Washington DC, where admission is free.

7. We also took Gideon to the beach. It wasn’t his first time at the beach, but it was the first time making sand castles and standing waist deep in the water. I discovered that the beach is approximately 500 times more fun if you go with a child.

There were other things too: father’s day grilling, gardening, writing, reading, a brewing party, hikes, raises, bill paying, art museums, a sudden obsession fascination with Stephen Sondheim and playwriting in general, an unfortunate case of food poisoning, the first mulberry off my mulberry tree, and so on.

It’s amazing how much can fit into one month. `

Article: 19 Rare Recordings of Famous Authors

Filed under: Joy's Work — joy at 6:34 am on Sunday, June 29, 2014

My most recent article for Mental Floss is 19 Rare Recordings of Famous Authors.

Click to hear recordings of Hemingway (he’s drunk!), F Scott Fitzgerald, Jack Kerouac, Flannery O’Connor, Virginia Woolf, and many more.

JRR Tolkien Was Adorable.

Filed under: Inspiration — joy at 10:04 am on Monday, June 2, 2014

I post this video as evidence:

Article: 10 Things You May Not Know About ‘Little Women’

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 1:02 pm on Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Did you check out my latest in Mental Floss? It’s called 10 Things You May Not Know About ‘Little Women.’

Here’s my favorite fact:

2. Little Women took only ten weeks to write.

Alcott began the book in May 1868. She worked on it day and night, becoming so consumed with it that she sometimes forgot to eat or sleep. On July 15, she sent all 402 pages to her editor. In September, a mere four months after starting the book, Little Women was published. It became an instant best seller and turned Alcott into a rich and famous woman.

And, unlike Robert Louis Stevenson, she didn’t even use cocaine!

Read 10 Things You May Not Know About ‘Little Women.’

Do You See Both The Faces?

Filed under: Inspiration — joy at 8:18 am on Monday, May 12, 2014

On Mother’s Day we went to the beach and had a picnic. I tried to draw this amazing rock several times, but then gave up an took a picture with my cell phone.

Do you see both the faces?

Articles: Birds In Mental Floss

Filed under: Joy's Work — joy at 7:50 am on Thursday, May 1, 2014

My articles for Mental Floss this month were about birds! Check it out:

10 Weird and Wonderful Bird Nests


9 Bizarre Bird Mating Rituals

Next Page »