For the Love of My Country: Why this Book, Why Now

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I was never a history student. I majored in German literature. Once in college when I referenced a favorite film, a man I knew stopped me mid sentence. “Amy!” His voice dripped with exasperation. ”Not EVERYone is a German major.” Thank God I was. To paraphrase Frost, it’s made all the difference. My newly released book, German Awakening: Tales from …

On Divine Timing

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My kiddo had a music lesson scheduled. It was a reschedule, on a day that normally wouldn’t have worked, but something else was cancelled last minute. Everything fell into place. Traffic was light, and we had time to stop off for coffee, and still arrive with plenty of time. In the small walk-up waiting room, painted in a brilliant green, …

Feeling ALL the Emotions

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Yesterday, for the second time in less than a month, something I read made me cry, another reminder of deeply cherished dreams I never fulfilled, and now never will in that form. I’m talking big round tears rolling down my face. This shouldn’t feel unusual, given changes I’ve made, walking away from huge chunks of my life. I keep expecting …

How are Pilgrims like Podcasts?

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I first began ordering business cards around the time that I decided I would—someday (!)—build a life more centered on my God-given gifts as a Wordsmith. Among vague services listed (“Writing, Editing, Consulting. Personal statements. German and Spanish translation,” plus the now-defunct One Foot in Front of the Other on BlogSpot), I included this enigmatic gem in bold font: Insightful narratives. …

On Horses and Failure

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When they led my horse into the ring on Equine Coaching Day, I offered my hand to sniff, rubbed the white blaze on his forehead, and wrapped my arms around his dark mane. Excellent! I hoped he would dance—or perform some such magic—as I’d seen other horses do all morning. This evidence had revealed powerful truths for so many people already. My …

On Wayshowing Women and Writing

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Beginning in 2012, Cheri Register suggested I streamline my sprawling memoir, saying I could write a second book later. “This isn’t autobiography,” she said. Cheri advised me for the Foreword Writing Apprenticeship in Creative Nonfiction (often misspelled Forward) at The Loft Literary Center. That’s how I met my writing partner, Katherine (aka KQ). Besides group meetings, we each enjoyed fifty …

What’s in a Name: About that title…

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What’s a Bildungsroman? (Bil-doonks-ro-mon.) I recently announced on Facebook that I’ve completed my revision of German Awakening: Tales from an American Life, my creative nonfiction take on the Bildungsroman. In response, a couple friends eagerly admitted to Googling the term. Everyone in my world knows that with me, German is part of the deal. So they didn’t question my word …

A Primer in Realism: Remembering Julie

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In college, I wrote better essays in German than English, mentored by a brilliant professor, tall and spirited with curly black hair. I recall exact phrases Julie used to introduce Poetic Realism. Set in fairytale landscapes, this movement portrayed life as it was but brighter, bound by social conventions with occasional glimpses of magic. To help make sense of stories, …