I live with my mother and brother at St. Francis Farm, a Catholic Worker community in upstate New York where I spend my days attending to gardens, goats and guests and my evenings reading and writing eclectically.
I grew up in two homeschool groups, one rural, conservative and Christian, one city-based, progressive and ecumenical. So far as I know my family was the only one to attend both groups. I grew up fascinated by people and their varied convictions,and also by books, which I was free to explore at leisure since I didn’t have a class schedule. Teaching myself economics, I became dismayed by the ways in which people and the planet got hurt by the prevailing system, and decided to try doing something different.
So I found St Francis Farm, where once again I’ve had the chance to hear and take part in the stories of people with very different ideas and backgrounds. I’m still fascinated by our differences, and by the web of connections, economic and spiritual, that hold us all together. I’m still trying to figure out how we can do less harm and more good through those connections. Farming and neighboring is part of how I figure that out. Writing is the other part.
St. Francis Farm’s mission is to live an alternative to the consumer culture. We raise food for ourselves and our guests, plus extra to give to neighbors and a local soup kitchen–we have a big garden,a small orchard, goats, rabbits,pigs and chickens. Our woods provide firewood to heat our buildings and hot water, lumber for our building projects and some extra to sell; they also provide lovely places for walking. We invite people in to learn low-cost sustainable farming and forestry, to walk the nature trails, to step back from daily busyness and take time for discernment. We try to do the small work of being good neighbors to a wide variety of folks; sometimes this is a matter of welcoming people here, sometimes of making wheelchair ramps for neighbors with mobility issues, making toys for refugees,helping people with reading and language learning.
I’ve been trying to write stories since I learned to write at all; when I was very small my mother found me in the driveway, trying to write a story in the sand with a stick and crying because I had stepped on some of the earlier parts. My technique has improved a bit since then. I started getting letters in the newspaper when I was nine, got my first story published in 2011 when I was 30, and started writing and editing for hire in 2012. I finally wrote a novel that still seemed good to me by the time I’d finished writing it in 2017; one of these days I hope to find an agent who sees it as I do.