Wild Within takes the reader on a journey of self-discovery to develop an appreciation for wildlife and wilderness. It is a meditation on kinship and community, on solitude and the soul, on relational awareness and activating our deepest sense of self. By being present in our lives, we make better choices for ourselves, for each other, and for the planet.
I am a writer, a teacher and an advocate for wildlife and the preservation of wild spaces.
My essays have appeared in KCET, the anthology Joy Interrupted: an Anthology on Motherhood & Loss as well as the anthology The Sister Fidelma Mysteries: Essays on the Historical Novels of Peter Tremayne and I blog for numerous online magazines. As a humor essayist, I have written on a variety of topics including dementia, mother-daughter relationships, childhood, and lifestyles.
My academic writing includes literary analysis of women writers, pedagogical approaches to teaching, and the link between state violence and domestic violence. My book-length doctoral dissertation is Violence, Silence, and Sacrifice. Violence is a key theme in much of my work, including my popular writing about violence to animals, violence against the environment, supposed violence in mixed martial arts, and interpersonal violence.
For more than 15 years, I was a literature professor and taught literature, writing, rhetoric, gender, film, and cultural studies at the college level. I hold a Ph.D in English and Irish Studies from the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies at the University of Notre Dame, the preeminent global institution for Irish Studies. I’ve been a guest lecturer at universities in the United Kingdom and the United States, presented papers at top international conferences, and my award-winning research on radical women in Irish history has been published in peer-reviewed journals and books.
Currently, I run the Take Extinction Off Your Plate campaign for the Center for Biological Diversity in their unique Population & Sustainability program. Through education, outreach, corporate campaigns and public policy I aim to show the catastrophic impact our diet, particularly the American diet, makes on the environment and on wildlife, and how we can improve this situation by choosing wildlife-friendly, plant-based diets and meat reduction and better public policies, like retirement for grazing permits and nonlethal predator control, reductions in meat purchasing and increasing actions to bring federal and state agencies into better relations with the protection of wildlife.
Previously, I was the staff writer for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, a national nonprofit dedicated to the protection of animals using the legal system. I wrote speeches, press releases, articles, book reviews, legislative appeals, op-eds, interviews, and blogs.
I’ve volunteered for Amnesty International in Dublin as well as several animal shelters (participating in pet assisted therapy programs), was a certified sexual assault victim’s advocate in the U.S. and trained to be a self-defense instructor for young women.
I come from the southern foothills of the Mayacamas mountains in Northern California, but currently reside in Siskiyou.