Essays

“Teaching the Writer of Creative Nonfiction: How to Treat a Heart,” Teachers & Writers Magazine, June 18, 2018.

“I will die a Russian: A marriage of convenience that yielded an intelligence bonanza,” by Eva Dillon. Review in The American Scholar, Summer 2017.


“Marscesant: The Perfect Word to Describe us at Mid-Life, betterafter50.com, February 28, 2017.


“Memoir, Mother, Mirror, Myself,” Voices: The Art and Science of Psychotherapy, Summer 2016.


“Saigon Summer: A spy’s daughter remembers the haunting unreality of embassy life in South Vietnam before the fall,” The American Scholar, Summer 2015.


Lady Bird and Lyndon: The Hidden Story of a Marriage that Made a President, by Betty Boyd Caroli. Review in Washington Independent Review of Books, December 17, 2015.


The Porcelain Thief: Searching the Middle Kingdom for Buried China, by Huan Hsu. Review in Washington Independent Review of Books, June 18, 2015.


Saul Bellow’s Heart: A Son’s Memoir, by Greg Bellow. Review in Washington Independent Review of Books, June 6, 2013.



Ministers of Fire, by Mark Harril Saunders. Review in Washington Independent Review of Books, May 24, 2012.


Hour-long interview about Born Under an Assumed Name: The Memoir of a Cold War Spy’s Daughter, The Diane Rehm Show, March 13, 2012.


“Caring for Mom, Mum and Maman” 
The Washington Post, January 10, 2010.
A look at how older people’s quality of life is shaped by their governments’ health care policies.


“Throwing the Bums Out, Within and Without”
The Washington Post, March 30, 2008
A celebration of Argentina’s beauty—and an interweaving of Argentina’s political history with my own evolution.


“The Tyranny of Optimism” 
Aspen Daily News, April 11, 2007
How the American penchant for and insistence upon blindered optimism can undermine American foreign policy. A case for measured pessimism, especially in presidents.


“Rainlight” 
UNROOTED CHILDHOODS, Intercultural Press, 2004.
A memoir of the new-found delights of an American girl plunked down in The Netherlands.


“Life and Death in Patagonia: Encounters Along the Road” 
ASCENT, Vol. 27(2), Winter 2003.
Tales of wild joy and sorrow from a journey through some of the bleakest land on earth.


“Rowing to Leiden” 
SOUTHWEST REVIEW, Volume 87, Numbers 2&3, 2002.
A story of the push-and-pull at the heart of the mother-daughter relationship.


“Prejudice Abroad: Kids and Cashmere in Paris” 
Essay produced by MINNESOTA PUBLIC RADIO, 2002.
A comment on the mix of ethnocentrism and passion that arises during travel abroad.


“The Letter on the Cattlegate: A Paean to Neediness” 
COMMON BOUNDARY MAGAZINE, Nov/Dec 1997, and CATHOLIC DIGEST, Fall 1998.
An essay about human need and how it brings us all together.


“Longing for America: Notes from a Traveling Childhood” 
NOTES FROM A TRAVELING CHILDHOOD, Foreign Service Youth Foundation, 1994.
Thoughts on the appetite for the elixir of other lands–and the longing for home–that inhabits the heart of a child raised across seas.