How to Write More Complex Rural Characters

I got rid of my southern Indiana accent on purpose. My father pronounces “iron” like “arn” and “Italian” like “eye-talian,” but as a child, I understood on a deep level that his accent was wrong in some way. The characters I admired on TV didn’t talk that way. Most of the characters who spoke like my… Continue reading How to Write More Complex Rural Characters

Is A Rural Life Right For You? 4 Questions To Answer Honestly

I recently went back to Indiana to visit my family. It was weird being back in the boonies. Good weird, but also so different than the D.C. area. For two nights, I stayed at my aunt's house tucked between two corn fields. When I went to bed, I noticed my aunt left all the windows… Continue reading Is A Rural Life Right For You? 4 Questions To Answer Honestly

20+ Resources for Rural Writers and Creative Types

Are you a rural creative type but need help figuring out what resources are at your fingertips? Have you heard that you should attend a residency or a workshop but have no clue where to find one? Does the idea of getting funded for your craft sound like a pipe dream? You're in the right… Continue reading 20+ Resources for Rural Writers and Creative Types

How To Convince Yourself to Take the First Step—Even From the Boonies

I know you've heard it a thousand times: "The first step is the hardest." But it's true. Even making the decision to try is the most difficult part. And I don't mean telling yourself that someday you'll give your creative pursuit a go. I mean driving along the highway one day and deciding, with determination,… Continue reading How To Convince Yourself to Take the First Step—Even From the Boonies

My Story Was Published!

"Why didn't you tell me you had a story in The Democrat?" my dad asked over the phone as I stood in my childhood bedroom. "Right, I forgot to mention that," I said. "I didn't know when it was coming out. Is it in the paper?" A smile spread across my face. I had submitted… Continue reading My Story Was Published!

What It’s Like to Teach in Southern Indiana

After my first full year of teaching, I took a 40% pay cut to move from New Orleans back to my hometown in Indiana. When I arrived, I was met with a pay freeze that lasted the entirety of my time there. No one goes into teaching to become rich. As an incoming teacher, I understood I wasn’t going to make a fortune. But after a few years of climbing the salary schedule, I anticipated being able to afford the profession. With the salary freeze, my wage remained as though I was still a first-year teacher—for six years. Instead of climbing the ladder to match my level of experience at around $42,000, I never broke $34,000 per year.

Stop Wearing Earbuds in Public, for the Love of all That is Good

Several months ago, in the dead of summer, I noticed something strange as I sweated on the corner of 16th Street—an older man rattled cherry red maracas from behind the wheel of his car halted at the stoplight. These maracas were the big ones, with the handles. He stared over at our group on the corner,… Continue reading Stop Wearing Earbuds in Public, for the Love of all That is Good