About Crystal

I have always loved writing. When I don’t hate it. Maybe I should say I’ve always had to write. That’s more accurate. It calls to me and I’m compelled to answer. Read more »


Clever Elsie

“She can see the wind coming up the street and hear the cough of a fly.”

Dancing Skeletons

Recollections of growing up with a big Mormon family in a small Oregon town.


If I Could Have Any Power

Someone introduced my family to The Last Airbender. I was pretty skeptical at first. I mean, it’s a kid’s cartoon. But would you believe I totally got sucked in? And not just me, but the husband too. Enough that we had to make a rule that the kids can’t watch it...

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My Beloved Library

I remember the plastic smell of my first library card. My sister helped me spell my name in childish scrawl on the strip on the backside. "C-R-Y-," letter by letter I painstakingly worked my way to the L before realizing this little strip was grossly inadequate for...

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Foot Races and First Kisses

Our house was dominated by girls. Six out of the nine of us were girls. And I was born right smack between two brothers. Caren and Cami would spend hours laughing and giggling and referring to inside jokes. They shared the same clothes and went to the same events...

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It’s Against the Law to Marry Your Cousin

Tyler Bay was not my first crush. Not if you count the first boy who spoke to me in kindergarten. He had my undying devotion for about 30 seconds. But even before that, there was a brief infatuation with a cousin who came to visit from out of state. We went over to...

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“Oooo! Tyler Baaaay!”

(*Name changed) I loved school. My family only knew about kids at school if I talked about them. And kids at school only knew about my family if I talked about them. It was like creating two separate worlds and I could decide how much these worlds collided. I also...

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The Day I Learned My Family Was Big

Clarissa Reeves approached me in line at the monkey bars. She was not like the delicate blonde girls in our second grade class. Freckles spattered the bridge of her nose just like mine. Her hair was much longer than my own frizzy curls, and just a shade darker. Her...

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The Reality of Homework Packets in 13 Painful Steps

We sit down at the table. It’s noisy and distractions abound, but it’s the center of the home which makes it the most logical place for me. The child pulls out his homework slowly. He leans against his hand and fiddles with his pencil. I look at the first problem,...

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Sharing the Brainchild, Making it Shine

Today I sent off the most polished version of the first ten pages of Clever Elsie that has ever existed. Wish her luck! I'm going to a writer's retreat in May, and part of that experience will be reading those ten pages out loud to a small group of people who will...

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“If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.”  -George Bernard Shaw Our friends recently had a litter of puppies. The runt was several pounds smaller than her thriving littermates. She struggled and fought several times each day to get...

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My Inspiration for Clever Elsie

Clever Elsie is the name of a Grimm’s tale. After I stumbled across it I found myself kind of obsessing about it. This poor girl. She needed a happy ending! (Would it have really killed you to fudge the ending Grimm boys?) So I started to create a story for Elsie....

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