Photo by Sarah Olive on Unsplash

I am sitting on the back of a horse and the country is on fire.

The horse doesn’t know this.

The horse doesn’t know people are dying from a deadly virus, or standing in line at food banks, or about forest fires, or that Black lives are being snuffed out by the police.

I wish I was a horse.

The horse has wise eyes. I believe, if he could talk, he’d say, Black lives matter. These are words the president has never said. These are words the president will never say.

I feel my body tense so I look at…

Image credit: Leroy Skalstad from Pixabay

The first thing you learn when you rely on the food bank to feed your family is that you can’t rely on the food bank to feed your family. Not entirely, anyway. The truth is, many families struggle with hunger despite regular visits to their local food pantry.

According to the most recent report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 11.8 percent of Americans are food insecure. I’ve experienced this first hand. I was a food bank customer myself — a single working mother whose paychecks barely covered rent, daycare, utilities and gas, let alone food.

My local food pantry

Photo by why kei on Unsplash

I’m 50-years-old and I don’t have anything saved for retirement. It’s hard for me to admit this publicly. I’m ashamed and more than a little bit afraid about what it means for my future.

The main reason for this, is that for much of my professional life, I’ve been classified as an independent contractor. It’s a legalistic loophole allowing companies to harness the labor of an individual, often on a full-time basis, without actually hiring them. This distinction enables companies to avoid offering workers benefits.

A recent poll by NPR/Marist found that twenty percent of Americans are currently classified as…

As a little girl, I changed who I was to fit in. Decades later, am I still pretending?

Photo: Jaime Monfort/Getty Images

I grew up a sad, sullen child. Always quiet. Always watching the other kids as they laughed and played, trying to figure out how they operated. Sometimes they’d catch me watching and I’d blush and turn away.

My family was constantly in motion. By seventh grade I’d gone to six different schools, and my personality didn’t lend itself to making friends. More than that, there was something about me that attracted spite and derision from other children.

They teased me about my wavy, messy hair. I brushed it each morning in an attempt to render it neat and cute like…

iStock sergeyryzhov

When you’re poor, you get good at math really fast.

I was a single mom with more bills than money. The days before payday presented a never-ending series of math problems. For example: if I filled my car with gas, my son wouldn’t have enough lunch money for the week. This might seem like an easy choice, but I needed the gas to get to work. If I didn’t go to work, I’d lose my job. If I lost my job we wouldn’t have money for anything, let alone school lunches. The math said the gas came first.

Through constant…

Inside the haunting disappearance of Rachel Trlica, Renee Wilson, and Julie Ann Moseley.

The Girls:

Fort Worth, Texas. The year was 1974. It was two days before Christmas. Gerald Ford was president and Kung Fu Fighting was the nation’s number one song. Three girls were driving down Gordon Avenue in a brown Oldsmobile 98. Maybe they listened to Kung Fu Fighting on the radio. Maybe they found a station playing Christmas music instead. Whatever they played, if they played anything at all, I hope they sang along. I hope they sang loudly, with their shoulders back and their mouths, wide. I like…

photo Timothy Muza Unsplash

The information these sites have about you is mind-blowing.

Have you ever searched for your name online only to be horrified to discover how much of your private information is available on sites like Mylife? Your net worth, cell phone number, physical address, and more are readily available for anyone bored or curious enough to type your name into a search engine. For some, this isn’t just an invasion of privacy, but a safety concern. Removing your personal information from sites like Mylife becomes a huge priority.

If you want to reclaim your online privacy, I’ve got your back. This…

Photo credit Pixabay/Tama66

How well do you explain what you do?

A little while back, I published a story about a scam organization taking advantage of writers and editors. As an unexpected result, people now contact me on a regular basis to ask where they can find legitimate writing jobs. It’s an important question and I’m always delighted to help, but I need a few details before I can offer any worthwhile advice. Writing is not a one size fits all vocation. It’s hard for me to give recommendations to anyone without a little background information first. …

How to coax words from your fingertips when they don’t want to come.

photo courtesy of Kristopher Roller Unsplash @krisroller

It happens to the best of us (and the middling and the worst of us, too). I’m no exception. Sometimes I’m just not in the mood.

Maybe I’m tired or have a headache. Perhaps I’d rather pour a glass of wine and fire up something from my Netflix queue. Once in a while, I tell myself it’s okay to put it off. But most of the time I do it, even when I don’t feel like it because I’m a writer and that’s what writers do. We write, even when we’re not in the mood.

The thing about writing when…

It’s the act itself that matters.

Imgage via Shutterstock

It happens on a regular basis. I read an article or blog post I admire, maybe on Medium, maybe elsewhere. Naturally, I scroll up to learn a little more about the author, only to discover that they’ve described themselves as an aspiring writer. Wait. Didn’t I just read something they wrote? How, then, can they possibly be aspiring? Aren’t they already a writer?

I get it. Calling oneself a writer can feel like a stretch or worse yet, like you’re an imposter. There are so many true masters of the written form. …

Tamara Gane

Freelance Writer: The Washington Post, NPR, Lonely Planet, Fodor’s Travel, Ozy, HuffPost, Thrillist, Reader’s Digest, etc. Follow me on Twitter: @tamaragane

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