Who doesn’t love being carried away by a story?

Detail: Joan Mitchell painting, photo by Lisa Poulson

Cloud Cuckoo Land, which instantly became one of my favorite novels when I read it in October, is a layered, moving story about the power of stories:

“ ‘I know why those librarians read the old stories to you,’ Rex says…

Is it a smashed-up Barbie doll head??

I have mixed feelings about writing fiction. First, I have no formal training, other than a class I took as an undergraduate in college 40 years ago. Second, I understand non-fiction, which is journalism adjacent. Having been a PR person for decades, I…

Photo: Lisa Poulson

Here’s a long, circuitous story with no clear ending. It’s about becoming “a writer.”

In 2008, one of my BFFs took me for a birthday tarot reading with a guy named Howard, who studied the cards he laid out for me and said, “Your job is soul-destroying.”

“Why yes, Howard,”…

Here’s to walking toward what scares you . . .

“You should rewrite this as a novel.”

That’s what my father-in-law said when he read a very early draft of my memoir in 2009. I dismissed that idea out of hand, because fiction — that realm of Toni Morrison and…

Stuart Miles/Depositphotos.com

Sometimes, lipstick is everything

A few weeks ago I was sitting in the foggy morning light in my pale blue bedroom, meditating, when a declaration bubbled into my head. ‘I’m going to wear red lipstick every day when the pandemic is over.’

‘Yes,’ I thought, even though one is not…

Photo by Lisa Poulson (author)

I woke up the day before San Francisco’s lockdown flooded with cold panic. Fifty-seven, single and self-employed as a communications coach, ninety percent of my upcoming engagements had been canceled. What was coming next?? I heard a sing-song voice ringing in my head.

“La cigale ayant chanté tout l’été …

Niall David Photography

The revelation’s always on the other side of the terror!

I’m nineteen years old. I’m wearing a floral dress, singing How Beautiful Are the Feet from Handel’s Messiah for my church congregation in Los Angeles on Easter Sunday. This aria is high, it’s slow, it requires precision and purity. There’s…

Lisa Poulson

An essayist exploring the complex beauty of female power (lisapoulson.com), a communications coach (poseycorp.com) and a San Franciscan.

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