About the Twirl

I’m a poet, a mom. A daughter, a wife, a sister. A nurse. A teacher, a life-long learner.

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Privilege created me white and California-born. My parents raised me to notice art, to take care of others, and be wary of the world. Experience has made me a feminist. The practice of love has earned me some reliability as a friend. My calling was poetry even before speech. Education and training have shown me I can teach others using the best words I know.

A cultural WASP, I am an agnostic, curiouser and curiouser, praying every day to gods and goddesses I don’t believe in. I love the ocean and trees and my grown kids. I read more books than anyone I’ve ever known except my mother. I used to be a regular swimmer and runner, less so now. I learned to knit, crochet, and sew in the 1960s and still knit, as they say, so I don’t kill people. A singer my whole life, I turned in my soprano for poems after my kids were born and time was dearer. I love Maine in August. I lived in Switzerland when I was 17 and wish my German were as good as it once was. There’s still time to learn Spanish. My favorite colors are lemon, lime, orange and vodka. A mental health professional once told me I was a good candidate for mindfulness training, and I agree.

I first came up with the idea of “twirlyword” in the mid-1990s and have been known by that moniker ever since. The term is in partial tribute to The Grateful Dead. I love their music but came to it late and only went to a dozen concerts before Jerry died. “When in doubt twirl” is a Deadhead trope, and it speaks to me both about despair and faith. About the wisdom of staying in motion.

I often start poems when I’m driving in my car – for some reason that’s when inspiration comes. I probably should listen to the Dead when I’m driving instead, but it’s hard to twirl and drive at the same time. Which might be the only thing worse than writing and driving.

(I have a day job, but it’s not always as interesting as poetry.)

Thanks to Hannah Jenny for the head shot.