Sign in

Writer | Gen Xer | Sober | 2nd Memoir, BLISSFUL THINKING/May 2022 | Words @ WaPo, Salon, Bustle, BOMB | Free monthly creativity tips, http://bit.ly/notablenews

Here’s a collection of my essays, commentary, and…


It did mine. For years. I don’t care what the “common knowledge” says. You can do it wrong.

The author relaxing at the Shore Bar in Anjuna Beach, Goa, India. Courtesy of the author.

After my husband ended our marriage over the telephone, I signed up for a 10-day silent meditation retreat. I’d been told that practicing this type of meditation, called vipassana, would result in limitless love, compassion, and goodwill. I wanted those things so desperately, I was willing to lie to get in.

Ten days of meditating for nine hours a day without distraction is an objectively grueling journey. But I’d tried therapy, yoga, and sex already, and my heart was still broken. So I didn’t mention my past-and besides, I didn’t think my history applied.

Years before, I had abused alcohol…


It changed everything

Photo by Derek Thomson on Unsplash

Dad, my sister, and I were marooned that first Christmas after my mother died. It didn’t matter that at 48, I was the youngest of us — Mom was gone, and we had no ballast. It would be another two years before I unpacked the story of that holiday, when I got involved with someone who had potential.

We were talking in the way of new lovers, surprising ourselves with our wealth of material. I wasn’t looking for an interpretation so much as a witness, and when I looked into his golden-brown eyes, I knew he was listening. By this…


The call to women: Bring us more babies!

Photo: Carl Heyerdahl/Unsplash

Last week, reports surfaced showing that U.S. birth rates hit a record low in 2020, and the call is on for women to to sacrifice their lives and their independence for the sake of the almighty dollar.

In what amounts to a capitalist pyramid scheme, pundits are predicting a dire economic future unless we produce more human widgets. And in a twist that could fit comfortably into the new season of The Handmaid’s Tale, 2021 is shaping up to be one of the most regressive for women’s reproductive health since abortion became a federally protected right in 1973.

Population-based appeals…


We never made any pact about contact from the afterlife, but after she died I suspected she was trying

A young woman in a leopard-print top looks into a mirror as she applies makeup.
A young woman in a leopard-print top looks into a mirror as she applies makeup.
Mom on vacation, getting ready to go out.

Cassadaga is a small town in northern Florida that bills itself the psychic capital of the world. Not long after my mom sloughed her mortal coil, I found myself driving nearby. We hadn’t made any pacts about reaching out from the afterlife, but I’d begun to suspect she might be trying.

Throughout my 1970s childhood, my mom looked nothing like the other moms of our Rust Belt suburbs. She wore her thick black hair closely cropped, paired with figure-flattering leopard prints and a bold red lip. Raised in Chicago, she couldn’t drive. Cabbies flirted with her. “That your sister?” they’d…


Ted Lasso or the Olympics? No spoilers!

Ted Lasso or the Olympics?

The second season of the Netflix hit Ted Lasso couldn’t have come at a better time. As the Olympics 2021 gear up, we need every feel-good sports story possible. Otherwise, the only sporty news on the radar would involve doping scandals, runaway budgets, and pandemic scares. Obviously, I’m not what you call a sportsball person, but I’ve watched both the games and Ted Lasso. Not surprisingly, I’ve ended up asking myself the question that’s been on everyone’s op ed pages — why have the Olympic Games at all?

The connection between these two things wasn’t lost on the U.S. women’s…


To end the stigma around mental illness, we can do better than blame it for poor behavior.

A woman, NOT Abigail Elphick, with a red hoodie pulled over her head and blond hair covering her face as she screams.
A woman, NOT Abigail Elphick, with a red hoodie pulled over her head and blond hair covering her face as she screams.
Photo by Jan Kopřiva on Unsplash

Firstly, I am not a doctor, and I’m not presuming to make any diagnoses. However, I am interested in addressing the attention that’s come to mental health and wellness in the aftermath of the so-called Victoria’s Secret Karen video. The woman depicted clearly has issues, but, based on my experience with mental health, I couldn’t dismiss her behavior as emblematic of mental illness. But why not?

After I’d watched the videos, it was (and is) my opinion that the woman should be held accountable for her behavior. For those of us who have experienced real mental health traumas, suggesting the…


The videographer has raised more than $100,000 as of this writing, where’s the apology?

Abigail Elphick throws a tantrum while being filmed at Victoria’s Secret
Abigail Elphick throws a tantrum while being filmed at Victoria’s Secret
Stills from the video captured by Ijeoma Ukenta.

First, I’m unequivocally delighted that Ijeoma Ukenta has raised an enormous defense fund in the aftermath of the ridiculous tantrum she recorded. I’m sure doxxing on Abigail Elphick exists on some corner of the Internet, but more on that in a minute. After watching the video, I’m mystified that Elphick wasn’t escorted from the mall by security immediately after chasing Ukenta around a Victoria’s Secret. Moreover, unlike Ukenta, I’m not letting the staff off the hook for failing to kick her out of the store. …


Here’s a step-by-step how-to

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

Even if you’ve never heard the word logline, you’ve read and used them a bazillion times. Loglines are short descriptions that state the central plot conflict as well as a story’s emotional hook. The term comes from old Hollywood, where studios kept hundreds of scripts, each logged in a book by a single descriptive sentence, the logline.

Before you object to writing one for your book, know that this information is just as important for readers as moviegoers. It’s how most people will decide, “Is this something I want to spend time with?”

When you have a book to share…


Spoiler alert, you’ve already done the hard work

Smiling woman with long, green-tipped dark hair and horn rim glasses, standing in front of a white board
Smiling woman with long, green-tipped dark hair and horn rim glasses, standing in front of a white board
Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

Your book is finished. Congratulations! Chances are good that everyone you know is aware your book will soon be available for purchase. If not, definitely start there. Otherwise, how do you promote your book to a wider circle?

For years, I worked for one of the world’s largest PR firms to generate interest in brands and products. When it came to getting buzz for my book, I used the same strategies. By explaining my techniques, I’ll show you how to promote your book, too.

Know the difference between public relations and marketing

In general, PR is “free,” whereas you have to spend money on marketing. None of this…

Lisa L. Kirchner

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