Kara Melissa logo

Writer. Mother. Dreamer. Educator. Advocate. Explorer.

Alum of Antioch University LA, with an MFA in Creative Nonfiction.

rustic wood door and turquoise painted wall

from one journey to the next

Welcome to My World

Hello! S̄wạs̄dī Ka! Shalom! Hallo! ‘Ahlan wa sahlan’! Hi!

In 2000 I embarked on a journey which started on the other side of the dateline from my hometown of Howell, Michigan. I found myself surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and Philippine Sea on a small island called Saipan. This was when I began my career as an international school teacher.

From there I would move on to Bangkok for three years, and then take a year to travel in SEAsia AND volunteer in Nazareth.

I next landed in Schaffhausen (on the Rhine) where I taught for a year. Got engaged in Sevilla; left my job in Switzerland; moved to London (UK); married in Little Gidding (T.S. Eliot wrote The Four Quartets here). 

My son, S, was born in London and a few months later we were off to Cairo for my spouse’s job as a journalist. After two years in Cairo, we left just before the Revolution in 2010, and landed in Toronto, where my daughter was born. We are still here and awaiting Canadian citizenship!

That’s just the map of where I’ve been. The stories fill in all the rest.

But wait...there's more...

I documented a lot of these stories in my blog, Free As Trees, which has since retired. I returned to my hand written journal, as well as attended local writing classes/workshops with Firefly Creative Writing, in Toronto. 

Through my blog and the community of parents in the same “club” (being a parent of a disabled/complex needs kid), I made connections/friendships and began writing for community blogs and Today’s Parent. I wrote a lot about navigating the school and healthcare system for my son, and then what it was like to parent two kids, one disabled and one able-bodied. I wrote about ableism and advocating for equal access – to everything – for my son. 

A lot has happened along the way where I lost and found myself again; being a mother is a big identity to take on, and sometimes it pushes all the other identities underground for a little while. Taking my MFA has made an enormous difference in my life and I’ve re-connected with myself and the writer within. 

I’m still writing about parenting and my kiddos, but I’m also writing about my own childhood, family, travels, love, loss, grief, and all the things that branch off from these themes. 

embracing hands flower pot holding a cactus
“Persist. Read, write, and improve: tell your stories. Accept rejection until you find acceptance, but don’t become disheartened. Stop writing, and you remove yourself from the conversation.”
Jesmyn Ward