I have a piece up at Primer Stories! I’ve loved their work since they launched and then stumbled across a topic I wanted to write about in short form that I thought would pair well with their illustrations and design.

The piece is a profile of an early 18th century naturalist and physician who searched for proof that dragons live in the Alps (true story!) and discovered something interesting….

I love what Primer did with it. Check it out!

Dragons of the Alps: Johann Jakob Scheuchzer’s Quest for Scientific Evidence



Since January 11th, I’ve been writing at least one good thing or gratitude per day. What started off as an exercise in reflection has changed the way I experience each day. I’ve begun to keep track of everything I could put into my evening entry as they happen, so I appreciate more moments as I live them.

Sometimes on particularly tough days, I’ll look back at entries from previous weeks. They span a whole range of delights:

Jan. 16: M grabbed one of my fingers, booped his own nose with it, and cracked himself up.
Feb. 4: Actually did everything on my to do list.
Feb. 6: Box of books arrived!
Mar. 17: Managed to switch all utilities by phone and in person by myself and in French.
Apr. 18: Sushi and champagne for our anniversary.
May 14: Beautiful morning exploring Parc de Mon Repos with M.
Jun. 24: Ice cream at Pully Port with M___
Jun. 26: Marriage equality passed today.
Jul. 7: F___ café has air conditioning, free wifi, and a new play area for kids.
Oct. 5: M slept until 7:30 and woke up singing.

Today? I am off to Neuchâtel for a meeting with my adviser, and then I’m continuing on to an SCBWI writing retreat. I am grateful for:

— Andrew flying solo this weekend with M.
— Having time to write.
— Spending time with fellow writers.
— Going somewhere new and beautiful.

Have a wonderful weekend.

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Okay, so I already raved once about Hamilton. What can I say? It’s pretty much the best thing out there right now for so many reasons — brilliant writing, catchy music, a story that’s even more powerful because it’s true.

I’ve been reading and watching a ton of interviews, listening to the soundtrack on a loop, and of course doing follow up research to learn more about the characters’ real lives and histories. The following is a set of Hamilton-related links that show some of what I love so much about the entire phenomenon (and don’t even get me started on the structural brilliance — it’s perfectly constructed.)

First, here’s a good introductory interview with Lin-Manuel Miranda (the show’s writer and the actor who plays Hamilton) about why Hamilton is so perfectly hip-hop. It includes some footage from the show. You have to appreciate that Miranda’s wearing a “Burr Shot First” tee shirt in one of the rehearsals. Also included: interviews with Ron Chernow, the historian whose 700-page biography inspired Miranda, and a few other cast members. Favorite line: “The way I hold a ten-dollar bill is different now. Because that’s my dude.”

Lin-Manuel Miranda performed the opening number of Hamilton at the White House Poetry Slam in 2009. At that point, it was the only piece of the show he had written. Bold, right? I love the expressions on the Obamas’ faces.

Here’s an interview with Miranda from just after he received the MacArthur Award. He discusses his influences and is a total fanboy of various Hamilton audience members. I mentioned before that listening to Hamilton for the first time was comparable to my initial response to Rent. Probably not a surprise, then, that Miranda was also Rent-obsessed. We’re around the same age, so that was *the* show of our formative, adolescent years:

Yet another interview with Miranda, but this time the focus is on his retelling of history and the choices he made as a writer of historical fiction.

Here’s a long review and profile of both Hamilton and Lin-Manuel Miranda from February. It’s incredibly thorough and lays out exactly what’s so special about this show and its script.

And finally, part of what amazes me about Hamilton is how Miranda layers so many references into an already incredibly tight show. I mean, structurally it’s perfect. The rhymes are tight. I’m infamously critical of the verse novel form (not of all verse novels, of course, but many of them leave me wanting more from them), but if anything were to get me to like verse novels, it’d be this show. There, I said it. As someone who grew up doing musical theatre, I caught layers of Rent, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Les Mis. I didn’t grow up listening to hip-hop, and so I was surprised to find out that the song Ten Duel Commandments

EXACTLY follows the structure of Biggie’s Ten Crack Commandments down to the number of lines for each commandment.

See? Genius.