About the Author
Since you’re poking around my website, I’ll assume you’d like to know a little bit more about the person behind my written work.
I’m currently self-employed as a researcher and analyst, a career move I made to carve out more time and space to pursue my lifelong goal of becoming a professional writer. Previously, I served for some years as a leadership analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency—a job that I’m thrilled and honored to have held, but which was ultimately not compatible over the long term with the path I’m driven to follow. I also spent a summer as a Google Policy Fellow for the American Library Association Office of Information Technology Policy, which involved doing policy research on digital technologies and how we interact with them.
In addition, I’ve got a background in Japan, having lived, worked, and studied there. I’ve worked as the assistant to the Consul General of Japan in my hometown of Detroit; as an assistant English language teacher in Shiga Prefecture, Japan; and as a United States Pavilion Guide at the 2005 Expo in Aichi Prefecture, Japan. (よろしくお願いします。）
I love telling people’s stories. I love reading and writing biography and I love doing interviews. On one hand, writers and other creative people interest me, for self-centered reasons. On the other hand, I love learning about people who are unlike me and trying to share their stories faithfully and compellingly.
Speaking from the 30,000 foot level, my work generally explores the human/emotional/experiential undercurrents flowing beneath today’s pressing issues. To get more concrete, I apply these to the political and the digital spheres. That gives me two recurring themes, which I see as separate but complementary:
How do individuals’ emotions and experiences shape their politics
(Especially through the digital sphere.)
How is digital technology affecting our quality of life?
(Including through politics.)
Drawing on my experience as a CIA leadership analyst, I love exploring leaders and their followers and trying to what makes them cohere—or collide. Meanwhile, my experience as a Google Policy Fellowship and my degree from the University of Michigan School of Information informs the work I do parsing the effect of digital technologies on our lives, our health, our relationships, and our communities.
An additional interest of mine is in this thing called the theory of positive disintegration. It’s esoteric, which is a shame because it’s so applicable to our modern world. I’m therefore trying make its concepts accessible and show why they provide a helpful lens through which to understand the problems I’m parsing around our politics and our digital world (and the place where those two overlap). To this end, I founded Third Factor, a webzine that explores the theory of positive disintegration.
I’m also actively working on a novel, picking up where I left off as a teen author of original fiction online in the 1990s and early 2000s (in what to me was the Golden Age of the Internet). I had some success building a loyal following and attracted the attention of CNN and CBS News, but then put that all aside to try to get a “real” “grown-up” “career.” With some luck, I hope to pick up the pieces and undo that silly mistake.
I have a pile of other interests, too (a common problem for writers), but a few that I’ve developed enough to claim some subject matter expertise include international relations (with substantive knowledge of Japan and Russia alongside a budding interest in Greece) and policy issues related to the environment and energy.
Roots (and Some Blossoms)
Though I live outside of Washington, DC now, I am a proud Detroit native (born within the city limits, raised in the suburbs, left reluctantly at age 30 to give the CIA a try) and am descended from Yoopers. I had less culture shock living in Japan than I do here on the East Coast and regularly drag my husband back to Michigan for a cleansing dip in a Great Lake. Now that Steve Yzerman is back, I’m confident that the Red Wings will be winning the Stanley Cup again any time now.
I’m also on a quest to experience the actual, tangible, non-digital world, and to that end, I’m nurturing some hobbies that do not involve staring at screens (hurrah)! These include kayaking and growing citrus trees in pots in my back yard. I’ll probably write about the citrus growing at some point, because that’s what writers do when they learn about something new. 🙂