When all that dot-com stuff was going on, I left to live in Italy for a bit, where I taught English to business people. It was part of a United Nations program to eradicate French as the international language. I jest. But not really. I thought I’d live in Italy forever, but left after six months. Being able to communicate with people is hugely valuable. I only had the traveler’s fluency of the language: I could order off menus and get train tickets, no problemo. And I could nod a lot.

I returned to Washington state, taught English composition and literature, worked as a managing editor at a publishing company, all the while thinking about what it means to be an American in this always-on, ever present digital world that isn’t too removed from our pen and paper past.

Most recently, I’m the author of The Night Is Filled with Wonder.