Hi. Here's a little bit about me. I do lots of different kinds of things!
I'm a PhD Candidate in Visual and Narrative Culture at UC Berkeley. I'm also an award-winning best-selling memoirist and writing teacher. I also consult for and write about architects.
I started my writing career in 2003 as an architecture critic and reporter in New York City, where some of my earliest work was about the World Trade Center reconstruction process and all the architectural issues surrounding that massive and massively important project. Then I started writing profiles of architects like David Rockwell and Ben van Berkel and Roy McMakin, and then for a while I wrote a food column for CITY magazine (which I have either lost track of or no longer exists). For eight years I had a tremendous and fulfilling career writing for the New York Times, Metropolis, Wallpaper*, and more. I traveled to Korea, Moscow, Bali, Switzerland, and also Columbus (both Ohio and Indiana), Sea Island, and Atlanta. I published two well-received books about architecture, DARK NOSTALGIA, which was the first time the trend of ultra-retro apothecaries and speakeasies was given a name, and NATURE FRAMED, which offered an alternative--and far less cuddly--view of the relationship between architecture and nature. We didn't have hashtags then, but if we had, I would have said I was totally hashtag blessed.
And then I got sick.
I didn't know at first how sick I would get, and that's part of the craziness of the journey. The first half of my Kindle Single, IT'S ALL IN YOUR HEAD, is about these early years and my search for a diagnosis. And the second half is about what happened once we thought we had a handle on what it was. (Hint: it was in my head, but not metaphorically). And then I got better, and then I got worse, and from February 2013 until January 2016 I never knew for sure that I didn't have something really scary that was going to kill me.
I went through a lot of tests and procedures and biopsies and it was excruciatingly uncomfortable and terrifying and all of that, and it also changed the direction of my life. I realized that writing and teaching are the passions that kept me alive in the hospital room, and that kept me wanting to stay alive even when it seemed like the only guarantee was more suffering. So I write, now, and sometimes about architecture, but more often about my story and how it relates to others. I publish a twice-monthly column on Elizabeth Spiers' new site Everup called How To Go To The Doctor that covers everything from practical post-surgery advice to How to Survive the Intolerable to the often unspeakable but so necessary issue that is sex and chronic pain. I also sometimes get to bring my first love and my second life together in pieces like the Design Patient's Bill of Rights, which I did for my friend Martin Pedersen's brand-new site Common Edge.
I'm working on my first full-length memoir, which is sort of about all of this but also not really, and I'm represented by the incredible--and incredibly smart--Adriann Ranta at Foundry. I'm taking a break from teaching at UC Berkeley this semester, but I can't wait to get back into a classroom, and I'm looking into starting a small group of writing workshops out of my home here. I work one-on-one with a few clients on everything from full-on ghostwriting to structural editorial feedback to line edits. I love working with writers at all stages of their careers - get in touch if you have a project you've been wanting to write but haven't known where to start; or have a text you're sure is almost finished but know needs another eye.
I also consult with a few people through my company Wellness Companions. I'm not a doctor, and I can't offer medical advice, but I've been diagnosed with so much and have experience with all kinds of acute and chronic issues - heart surgery, brain surgery, ovarian tumors, maybe-cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, mold illness, histamine intolerance, mast cell activation syndrome - that I can be a useful companion to people struggling in the unknown, or the terrifying known.
Mostly I like to have feelings and write about them. Me of 2003 is shocked -- and, I think -- stoked.