My road in life took a while to figure out.
I started writing at the age of 7. My father encouraged me, and even bought me my own typewriter.
A classmate told me, "You're a good writer, but you don't want to be good; you want to be great."
My first few books did fine but they didn't break the sound barrier, so I had to take odd jobs.
My first job was at a law firm. I didn't belong. I preferred the secretaries & mailroom employees.
A friend noticed that I "saw" people that most others overlooked.
I knew that was something I'd learned growing up with my sister, who has an intellectual disability.
I was inspired to write a book about my relationship with my sister; it became a bestseller.
I'd never thought of speaking as part of my career path, but it fell into my lap and now I love it.
Keep following my journey


Author / Speaker

I write books that feature characters with disabilities and I give talks about disability / diversity.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Upholding a Cause and Belief

Day to Day

It depends on the day - most days, I'll get up, have breakfast, and start writing. I always work standing up, using my ironing board as a desk. When I'm writing, I like to work in quiet places, and I try to work at home, where I can drink as much tea as I want. Other days, when I'm on the road for speaking engagements, a "perfect day" means that everything goes over flies in the ointment.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for college students

Think about getting a degree in something other than writing or English. I think my degree in anthropology was more valuable than my MFA for a number of reasons. Anthropology educated me on different ways of thinking, encouraged me to value openmindedness, and taught me how to see the world through the eyes of people unlike myself. In addition, choose your friends carefully. Popular friends aren't as important as interesting ones. Be willing to be a weirdo, and to hang out with other weirdos.

Recommended Education

My career is not related to what I studied. I'd recommend this path instead:


The Noise I Shed

From Teachers:

"You need to edit this. This story could probably be better."

Challenges I Overcame

Family Issues
Learning Issues