I was born and raised in the great and beautiful state of Maryland, where we own Edgar Allen Poe, eat potato chips covered in seafood seasoning, and call everyone “hon.” Baltimore is the city of my birth, and of my heart, and even though I’ve visited at least 100 cities in 23 different countries, so far no other place has ever convinced me that I would be more at home there than I am here.
A little over five years ago I left a stimulating, fulfilling job as a fundraising writer for an international relief and development organization to devote myself full time to the demands of my beautiful, feisty, colicky newborn daughter. Now I’m a stay-at-home mom to two little girls, which is also a stimulating profession, in that my temper and heart rate are frequently stimulated. As for fulfillment, all I can say is that I love my job more often than I hate it and, at least so far, there is no evidence that my children actually are the sociopaths I think they are in their less charming moments.
I’m Catholic. My Catholicism is a part of me, but I often feel the same way about the institution of the Church as I did about my alcoholic grandfather when he was alive: He said things that made me cringe. He did things that were embarrassing. There were some skeletons in dark closets. But he was there for me during the most difficult time of my life and he taught me how important it is to think, to love, and to be generous. I may not stand behind everything he ever did or said, but I would never — could never — disassociate myself from him, or from the Church, both because of the comfort they have given me and for roles they have played in developing the best parts of my character.
I believe in God and in “that glittering instrument, the human soul.” I believe that love wins, not because the universe somehow wills it to be so, but because we as individuals have the power to choose love. And time and time again, even — especially — in the face of seemingly overpowering evil, we do. We choose to fight back with love, and every time we make that choice, love wins.
I love people and I love their stories. I love to tell my own stories, especially when they make others laugh. I think that sharing our stories — the small, unimportant ones just as much as the large, life-changing ones — is fundamental to our existence as humans. Because it is through our stories that we connect with one another, and when we connect with each other we grow in our understanding of ourselves and our world.