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about my practice

 
 

I believe in the wisdom our words have to teach us.

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Sometimes that wisdom unfolds through the stories our words create. At other times, it comes forward in the search for the words themselves. For me, as a writer, it is both.

That process of finding our voice when it matters most — to define, to empower, to illuminate our identities and experiences — can feel daunting, demanding, and utterly unforgiving. I know those feelings firsthand.

But I also know how it feels when the right words arrive: absolutely magical.

My name is Leslie, and I am here to honor and empower you in revealing your wisdom to the world.
 

What’s my story?

I came to my own writing practice through an act of surrender. But I started writing long beforehand.

In my earliest years, I loved creating imaginary worlds where the possibilities for adventure and magic were limitless. When I discovered that I could commit these ideas to paper, I became a writer. Later on, I turned to poetry to capture grief, angst, infatuation, fear. Had someone introduced me to NaNoWriMo in my teens, I would not have hesitated — I’d been writing all my life because it felt one and the same as breathing.

I also believed I was supposed to become a doctor. With an aptitude for science and an insatiable fascination from childhood with the inner workings of the body, it felt like a natural life path — of which my traditional Asian parents approved much more than they did the idea of having a writer in the family. But after my first year as a biochemistry major, I fled to the open arms of the English Department (to my parents’ great dismay) and never looked back. Words were my sanctuary and my true medicine.

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seeking without

 

Life, and formal education, have their way of clouding or even drawing us away from our innate connection to creative flow. When I graduated, I knew I needed a practical job to support my creative work, so I searched for a career that would give me the means to keep feeding my passion. I taught language arts in a secondary school. I edited for a major newspaper. I wrote the occasional freelance article. But none of it left me inspired to be creative when my work day was over. I finally admitted that I needed to give myself permission to pursue a dedicated writing career on my own terms.

But permission is not surrender. 

I was admitted to my dream MFA program at the University of Iowa, where I would workshop with some of the best writing teachers while having generous access to authors, agents, and others in the literary world. All of the resources and opportunities were there to create the writing life I wanted among experienced mentors and hard-driven colleagues alike: I only needed to immerse myself and do. the. work.

It was one of the most miserable periods of my creative life.

I was writing, but not in connection with true creative flow. Anxious to learn and do and consume what there was to integrate into my writing, to take it to a professional level, to make myself publishable, I couldn’t write from a place of inner guidance any more than I could have flown.

I left with my degree a year late and with a manuscript I knew I would never touch again. It had all the technical polish of three years’ focus on craft, but it had no breath of its own.

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surrendering within

 

What saved me was a blog.

I had created it as a distraction during my first year in Iowa — a place to write about anything but the subjects of my “serious” writing. Very quickly, it became a process journal. I confessed to my fears, enormous and minute. I wrote about what was in my way and what was driving me to tell the stories that refused to be told. Why they mattered. 

For months after I graduated, it was the only place where I wrote at all. In that space alone, there was no pressure. I began jotting simply to capture or reexamine a memory, to muse, to meditate. To play. Most importantly, I wrote for no one but myself.

And without force or coercion, I was suddenly finding breath again in the words.

I ignored (or pretended to ignore) this for nearly two years, afraid to gaze directly at what had occurred, lest I break the tenuous connection. I just wrote. When I was more certain that the danger of its disappearance wasn’t imminent, I peeked. And that was when I realized that there was no need to fear that the path to the words would vanish — because I had a process for finding it again. A practice of nurturing creative flow, uniquely inherent to my own identity like a signature or a fingerprint.

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bearing witness

 

In conversation with writers during my time at Iowa and in other places where we all gather to hone our craft, I have encountered similar stories of struggle. The ones that compel me most belong to the writers in the deepest thickets — of anxiety, uncertainty, stagnation.

Over and over, as I have listened to these stories, I’ve also been witness to each writer’s all-too-familiar search for permission and validation. Am I good enough? Do I need an MFA? What qualifies me to do this when someone else can clearly do it better?

If you feel held back by doubt in your work and in yourself: I have been there. And I am here to tell you that you already possess an inner creative author-ity whose support it is time to reclaim.

My deepest wish is to guide you back to a place of empowerment, just as I discovered within me through my own creative process. I want you to be able to discern the path forward — no matter how many times you lose your way — by the light of your own knowing. 

So how do we turn that on?

I invite you to surrender to your creative intuition.

To cultivate a writing practice that grounds itself in a spirit of play. We all come into this life with an innate connection to our own creativity — it is our means of survival. It is also the source of our power, our wisdom, and our light.

I’m here to support you in nurturing your writing practice with time and compassion.

Let me hold the space for both of these divine gifts to reveal what illuminates and empowers you as a writer. To allow your story to unfold with all the magic it has to offer.

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Want to learn more about how we can work together?