By J.M. Roddy

Maybe it’s exodus, not revolution.

What if your authentic self is not welcomed? In recent months, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have made headlines for stepping down as senior royals. I don’t read celebrity gossip, and I can’t claim to judge their character. But the act itself struck me as brave. Markle has been under intense media scrutiny, and there’s…

The IV girl club

This morning I woke up in pain.  I had a headache, as usual, and pain in my upper back, which has been happening more often lately. Not long later, my gut cramped badly enough that I couldn’t carry on conversation with my husband, who was talking to me about limiting the kids’ time on the…

Brave enough to break it open

In the past two months, I have lost my home, my possessions, my job, and my church. I’m not a natural disaster victim. I didn’t do anything wrong. My partner didn’t leave me or die. All of these losses were voluntary. I lost them in order to gain something far more precious: my health. Allow…

Cozy without comfort?

Hygge is the posture of the Danes in the long dark months of a northern winter.  They create environments of beauty and pleasure, safe from the harsh elements outside. Candlelight in the windows, wood piled high for the hearth, knitted blankets, hot tea, and good books. Everything this hobbit of a girl could ask for.…

The abundant now

My phone alarm wakes me. As I silence it, groggy and half-blind, I see a notification that someone has commented on my post. I swipe to see it. And there I am, phone already in my face, inundated by images and words through a luminous screen. Before I’ve even taken stock of my body, said…

Love in a new language

It started with a research project for the novel I’m working on, but it’s quickly turning into an obsession: the culture of Persia. I became especially interested in the cuisine because my fictional main character has a culinary talent. Problem: I’d never actually tasted Persian food, and the more I read about it, the more…

The ones we keep choosing

Last week I opened an email that began, “Unfortunately, Joanna, you did not win…” It was lottery tickets to see Hamilton, which just opened in Seattle. The tickets have been at scalper’s prices since like five seconds after they went on sale. This lottery is my best hope of seeing what some have called the…

The things she handed down

Years ago my aunts put together a photocopied version of my Italian grandma’s recipe notebook. I didn’t live in the same state with her growing up and my non-Italian mom only cooked the recipes that my dad liked from his childhood. So coming upon these hand-written recipes as an adult feels a bit like a…

Two Reflections

This tiny miracle The woods were dark, but it was summer, and the darkness was warm and not unfriendly. It was dark enough to hide my hand in his, twelve years old and trembling, breath catching with wonder. He was dark-haired and dark-eyed. Beautiful and kind and somehow, beyond understanding, mine in this moment. Chooser,…

Anniversary interrupted

I woke up to the sound of my five-year-old vomiting and shot out of bed. “Noooo,” I groaned, filled with sudden dread. Not just because I hate vomit. Not just because my son’s suffering fills me with helpless pity. More than either of those, I felt forebodings of disappointment. This was the morning my husband…

The allure of intentional community

When I was twenty-two, I filled a backpack and flew to Switzerland to live in an intentional community. It’s called L’Abri, which means “The Shelter” in French, and functions outside typical labels—part retreat center, part seminary, and part commune. Despite its name, the main language spoken is English. Its cluster of chalets built onto the…

The pursuit of self-awareness

You may have heard of the Enneagram. It’s a personality typing system. I know, insert eye-roll here. If you’re like me, these things are fun, and a little narcissistic, and about as useful as the daily horoscope. It can sort of apply, but it’s not going to change your life. Except this one has. For…

Mothers, makers, miracles, part two

This article is part one of a two-part series on parenting and pursuing a creative vocation. Last month I shared about my journey as a young mom to find my creative life within the limitations and challenges of parenting. Creative parents are in a time-resource bind that can feel unbreakable: not enough money for childcare…

Mothers, makers, miracles

This article is part one of a two-part series on parenting and pursuing a creative vocation. Part two will appear next month, June 2017: Retreat. Being both a mother and a creative is a catch-22. Unless you are one of those rare and mythical creatures who can make a living from your creative work in…

Two dreams and a memory

You stood on the concourse, ready to depart with Diesels, red hoody, and me. But not me. She was awkward, overweight. “We’re going to Hawaii to think about this relationship,” you say, arm around this other version of myself as I stand on the curb, seeing you off. “Verdict upon return.” . Years later, I entered…