Just Making Stuff Up

A few years ago, a good friend asked me to join an experiment — making up poems at a craft fair. We were totally winging it, but something clicked: People loved it. We loved it.

And it snowballed into Typewriter Rodeo:

Today I’ve got two poetry books — TYPEWRITER RODEO (Andrews McMeel 2018; co-author), and a Seattle-based collection, LISTEN TO THE TREES (Documentary Media 2020).

I get to travel all over the country doing on-the-spot poems, and have written them for over 15,000 people as well as radio and TV.

And last summer I had a dream moment:  One of my favorite poets, Naomi Shihab Nye, read one of *my* poems at the Sun Valley Writers Conference keynote:

I also have several short middle-grade books. And I’m still just making it all up as I go. 🙂

And lastly: I teach legal writing at the University of Texas Law School.


Hometown?  I was born in Columbus, OH, and split my childhood between there and Flower Mound, TX.

First Job?  Dressing up as a Care Bear for the Columbus Zoo. (I was the pink one.)

First Halloween Costume?  When I was 3 or 4, my mom asked what I wanted to be for Halloween. I’m still not sure why I replied: “A green mushroom!” (The hat? She made it from a toilet seat cover.)

First Poem?  Somewhere around 1st grade, I started making up poems. Above is one of my first ones, about the color green. Apparently I had a thing for green!

First Story?  In 2nd grade, I told my classmates that I’d had two poems, about Thanksgiving & Christmas, published in Highlights magazine. Like all stories, it had some truth (I had written the poems), and some not so much (I totally made up the Highlights part).

Favorite Book?  The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin

Favorite Movie?  Dead Poets Society

Favorite TV Show?  Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Buffy forever!)

First (& Only) Job Dressing Up As a Lottery Number?  I was the number three in the Texas Lotto’s “Pick 3” ad campaign.

Number of typewriters owned?  At least 40…

Dream Job?  Owning a typewriter shop!

Number of tattoos?  Only one (for now) – it’s a tattoo of the main typewriter I use for poem-writing.


Texas Country Reporter TV show

We Are Austin TV show

WestSide Seattle magazine

Author Mindy McGinnis’s podcast

Author Uma Krishnaswami’s blog

Boston NPR radio … with on-air poem-writing!