Sign in

Writer | Editor | Video Game Nerd — Find me on Twitter @CyclopediaBrain
A paper sign that says “Recognize your own white privilege. Have the uncomfortable talk with family/friends. Make change!”
A paper sign that says “Recognize your own white privilege. Have the uncomfortable talk with family/friends. Make change!”
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

I was a terrible student in high school. So bad that my only option for college was a special program offered at a nearby university — one designed for poorly performing students such as myself. I was raised by my blue-collar parents in a 96.78% white suburb of Detroit and was the first in my family to go to college.

I had just three weeks after graduating in June 2001 to enjoy my summer as a new high school graduate before I was to report to the university to live on campus for the summer and take non-credit courses designed…


A brightly colored brick wall with the word “Welcome” in contrasting bright colors on it.
A brightly colored brick wall with the word “Welcome” in contrasting bright colors on it.
Photo by Belinda Fewings on Unsplash

You have just graduated with your MFA in creative writing! Congratulations! The world is now yours to do just as your professors advised you to do and network, network, network. The global pandemic means all networking events have shifted to online events and that means you can attend all of them. The networking dream!

You register for your first event and some days later, you receive an email: “Sorry, this event isn’t for you. You won’t be able to attend.”

Not allowing yourself to become discouraged, you register for another. …


A textured cement wall with a Do Not Enter sign in the center.
A textured cement wall with a Do Not Enter sign in the center.
Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

The inherent ableism of traditional publishing

“You must write Every. Single. Day. You will never make it otherwise!

“Start your query with a personal connection!”

“Writers hustle! Good writers must love the hustle!”

These were the lessons taught over and over throughout all of my writing education. Repeated to the point one might wonder if instructors were working from a script. Some taught them more gently than others, allowing a little room for deviation. Many, though, insisted these were the hard and fast truths to the point I was often left wondering how badly I would fail as a writer.

I came away from my writing…


A sidewalk filled with rainbow stripes in chalk.
A sidewalk filled with rainbow stripes in chalk.

For nearly a decade, I’ve been walking my dog around my Chicago suburb donning a rainbow dyed mohawk. What began out of boredom and on a whim one day has, over the years, become something of a signature look. It’s how people know me, how people spot me from the other end of the block. When I was employed as a dog walker and taking public transit to get to my walking route each day, my hair made an otherwise isolating job social. Every day someone on the bus would comment on it, compliment it. …


Close-up screencap of YouTube’s auto-captions that say, “wish a happy book birthday to Gabriel our 12-inch author…”
Close-up screencap of YouTube’s auto-captions that say, “wish a happy book birthday to Gabriel our 12-inch author…”

You made a video! Maybe it’s your first, maybe it’s your 500th. Whatever the case, you have a video and now it needs captions. But…how do you get captions? And why do you need them? And if you’re uploading it to YouTube, surely the auto-captions provided by YouTube will suffice, right? Wrong.

Melissa Hart, author of Better with Books: 500 Diverse Books to Ignite Empathy and Encourage Self-Acceptance in Tweens and Teens, was kind enough to let me use one of her short book review videos for a quick tutorial on how to burn in captions using Handbrake, so your…


Woman biting a pencil while sitting at her laptop.
Woman biting a pencil while sitting at her laptop.
Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

All three of my degrees — a BA in sociology, an MA in English and literature, and an MFA in fiction writing — were earned online, from the same university. Having had lupus since the age of four, traditional school has always been inaccessible to me and because of this, I didn’t begin college until I was 32. I simply cannot sit in a lecture hall or lab for hours on end and come out of it having retained anything. It’s just too painful to force myself to sit still for more than 20 minutes at a time. …


My partner’s Fallout 4 character with a purple and orange sunset behind her.
My partner’s Fallout 4 character with a purple and orange sunset behind her.

Grief-Gaming is a series in which I will explore video game worlds playing as my deceased partner’s avatar.

Games have been a gift in my life. They’ve not only given me a career but after my partner’s first stroke in 2017, they served as the greatest tool in her recovery. …


Photo by Kristina Tripkovic on Unsplash

They don’t tell you at the hospital after you’ve unplugged your partner from the machines keeping her alive, that you’re expected to leave the dark room and go back home, and unlike in the movies and on TV, the halls aren’t empty. No, there are dozens of people there waiting on lesser things. They hand you a little clear bag — which you will be charged ten cents for because you had the nerve to not bring a reusable bag — to carry home your dead partner’s things. …


Skyrim, like many games, has always been something of an escape for me. Here’s a world I can do just about anything I want and be fairly unstoppable. I can befriend my companions, get married, adopt a kid, and go out adventuring, living the life of a hero, despite having taken several figurative arrows to the knee in real life. Or, if I feel so inclined on any given day, I can be as immoral and horrible as I wish. Skyrim is a great getaway from a world that often feels restrictive as someone with a chronic illness and social…


Photo by Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash

When we launched our Deaf game review site, OneOddGamerGirl, I assumed it would be a fun hobby that maybe would help a few Deaf and HoH gamers not buy games that hadn’t taken their needs into consideration in the design process. Our process was simple — Susan (who is Deaf) would get a game and play it for a while, I’d watch and then I’d play the same part of the game and we’d compare notes on what she found difficult to see if it was due to something she couldn’t hear.

I could not have imagined that five years…

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store