The “feast or famine” trope is familiar to any freelancer. Some days you starve. Other days are over-the-top busy.

As I poke my head out into the real world again, I’m finding a lot to chew on. I just started a new gig blogging daily on culture, science, history and innovation for Smithsonian’s SmartNews. It’s a great contrast to the longer-term projects I’m chipping away at, bit by bit. And man, am I learning a lot lately. Here’s what I worked on this week:


I went inside the weird world of mourning rings for Modern Notion.



What This Writer Reads

As the author of a book about books, I’ve come to kind of dread the question “what have you been reading lately?” Um…everything?

My tastes are catholic, weird, and often scattered, and my Kindle app, next-to-bed book pile and desk stack all seem to demonstrate split personalities. Recently, I’ve been on a fiction kick that is slightly unusual for someone who spends much of her time buried in biography. Here’s a grab bag of things I’ve read lately, in no particular order and with no attention paid to whether they were read simultaneously, in one big gulp or over a

Pinned Down


On August 28, I walked into the clinic. I took off my glasses—blind now—and lay on the table. The clinician strapped a molded plastic mesh mask to my face. She attached it to the table.

For the next 35 minutes, I lay completely still, pinned down. I closed my eyes. I could hear the mechanical arm of the CyberKnife machine darting and turning in the space above, below, aside, and over my head and face. Three-quarters of the way through I began to feel the radiation it was zapping into me: invisible, yet radiating, just like its name.


Shop Small With Me At Boulder Book Store This Saturday!

shop small

I’ve got nothing but love for my local indie bookstore, the Boulder Book Store on Pearl Street. So I was honored when they asked me if I’d consider joining them this Small Business Saturday, November 29, to hand sell a few of my favorite books as part of the Indies First movement. I’ll be at the store starting at 3 p.m. on Saturday—why not stop by, do some holiday shopping, and say hi?