I’ve published my first essay. It’s called A Weed in the Garden and was picked up by a journal called The Penmen ReviewSouthern New Hampshire University’s Online Journal for Creative Writers.

Needless to say, I’m thrilled. May it be the first of many.

Here’s an excerpt:

Keandra placed her napkin in her lap. “Can we pray?”

Oh shit. Lunch was supposed to be soup and salad. Not this. I clenched my teeth and dropped my knife, the clang reverberating like a spade hitting rock. Here? Now? Really? “Pray—right. Yes, of course.”

Keandra and I were at Terra Fresca, an all-glass potted plant restaurant at the UCSC University Center. Faculty and administrators in rubber-soled Rockports and rumpled blazers surrounded us, everyone eating seared tuna (sustainably caught, of course) and asparagus paninis. We were knee-deep in the liberal elite—Fox News lingo, not mine—ringed by people discussing rising CO2 levels, Che Guevara, and Jon Stewart’s latest evisceration of George W.

I shouldn’t have been surprised. Of course Keandra would want to pray. We were classmates at Inner Light, a new thought church in hippie Santa Cruz, training to be metaphysicians, learning to use prayer as a way to move consciousness in service to the world. Keandra prayed for everything. But here? Out loud? Surrounded by PhDs? Didn’t she know these people hated us? I imagined jumping to my feet, grabbing a megaphone, and announcing, “This isn’t what you think. I’m not a born-again Christian.”

I peered up from my plate and froze. Keandra’s hands were creeping their way across the table, palms up. Pray and hold hands? This was a nightmare. Not only would people hear us, now everyone in the restaurant would see us. The exit couldn’t be close enough….. Read more