Posts by Kelsey

When I meet students on the autism spectrum…

Every time I meet a college student with autism, I want to give them a hug.

Of course, for some individuals on the spectrum, the last thing they would want to do is get hugged by someone they barely know. Most of the time I refrain from doing so, but sometimes, as in the picture above, I can’t stop myself.

They give me hope for my son Griffin, a sweet and smart 4-year-old on the spectrum. I see them and I imagine Griffin waiting in line fifteen years from now to get his book signed by a visiting author. I see them and I imagine him getting that book signed and going off to his dorm where…

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Sometimes you gotta shut up and listen

I enjoy sharing my stories. But here’s the thing, I know all of my stories. My stories aren’t going to teach ME anything new.

Recently I spoke at Central College in Iowa. As part of my visit I was interviewed by Dr. Bob Leonard for his local radio show In-depth. You can listen to the interview. It lasted 13 minutes. I say things I’ve heard myself say hundreds of times, but when the interview was over, the real interview began.

I interviewed Bob.

All I said was, “I hear  you have some interesting stories,” and that’s all it took for Bob to get going. Bob is an Anthropology professor, and I had heard that he drove cab for a while as part of his research. He didn’t talk about that much,…

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Where Am I Speaking Fall 2015

This Fall I’ve had the chance to corrupt a lot of students at schools across the country.

I’m in the middle of a stretch of 8 weeks of visiting at least one high school or college per week. I always like to write this post before I start a season of speaking so maybe I can sync up with some friends or readers while on the road. Alas, I’m a bit behind, so this post covers where I’ve been and where I have left to go this fall.


8/26 Fashion Institute of Technology

As Hogwarts is to wizards, F.I.T. is to fashion students. First year students read WHERE AM I WEARING.  I love reaching fashion students with the stories of the garment workers I’ve met in Bangladesh, Cambodia, and beyond. Some day…

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Is rural America becoming China’s China for manufacturing?

Many in the Carolinas thought the textile industry was gone for good. That it had moved to China and would never return. But the NY Times reports that a textile mill is opening in Indian Land, SC, and it has an unlikely owner.

The Chinese-owned Keer Group is moving some textile production back from China to South Carolina.

From the Times piece:

Textile production in China is becoming increasingly unprofitable after years of rising wages, higher energy bills and mounting logistical costs, as well as new government quotas on the import of cotton.

At the same time, manufacturing costs in the United States are becoming more competitive. In Lancaster County, where Indian Land is located, Keer has found residents desperate for work, even at depressed…

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Should we mow our lawns?

“Oh, no, daddy! Watch out for the toad!” My six-year-old daughter nearly broke into tears as the tiny toad jumped out of the way of our rumbling riding lawn mower.

This was our first time mowing our new property and Harper was on my lap calling out the crickets and grasshoppers and toads.

Start. Stop. Start. Get off. Sometimes I had to move a life to a safer place.

I’ve always been the type of mower who would stop for an insect when I saw them. I think I was influences by all of those bug cartoons and movies that pitted insects and shrunk kids against the evil lawn mower. But, here’s…

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On Indy Style TV with Harper

Two years ago I was on Indy Style TV and chatted with host Tracy Forner shortly after my book EATING released. A month ago Tracy emailed me that he finally got around to reading my book while on vacation in Michigan–not far from the apple farmers and juice factory I wrote about in EATING. He wanted to have me on again to cook. Cook . . . gulp!

I’ve come along way in my food journey, but I’m no chef. Instead of whipping something up Bobby Flay style, I suggested I make banana splits and we have a chocolate and coffee tasting while we chatted.

I took my daughter Harper along for the ride and we included her in the last segment. She did awesome and was so well behaved even…

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The most amazing thing about publishing is . . .

… that you can be watching the Bachelorette, or taking a nap, or organizing your Smurf collection, or scrolling Facebook while sitting on the toilet, while simultaneously somewhere else in the world your thoughts and words are entering someone’s head a heart.

If that’s not magic, I’m not sure what is….

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Creating together: A Confession of a Reluctant Collaborator

(If you are fan of my solo work, I’d love to collaborate with you on a Facing Project. Please visit or reach out to me for more info. This post originally appeared on the Facing Project’s blog. ) 

Kelsey JR W and L

 With J.R. (right) and the amazing organizers of Washington & Lee’s Facing Sexual Violence project)

A few years ago I roped a guy who I barely knew into participating in the very first Facing Project as a writer.

Today, he’s the co-founder of the Facing Project, who had the vision to see it was more than just a one-off project; he’s like my brother in that I spend more time with him than about anyone other than Annie and the kids;…

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Should firefighters stand in the street and ask for money? (Criticizing the Fill the Boot Campaign)

First, before you start hating me, let me say that I’m amazed by the risk firefighters face and the courage with which they face it. Even Grizzly bears and great whites are afraid of fire. That makes firefighters, who jump into a blazing building, braver than grizzlies and great whites!

(Photo: I took this photo of a firefighter in the street “filling the boot” in my hometown.)

A woman who has an office in the same building I have an office would not be with us any longer if not for the action and courage of local firefighters. Firefighters miraculously rescued her and her husband from a horrible home fire in the middle of the…

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GMO corn lawsuit encourages farmers to sue seed company

I live in rural Indiana, so it’s not rare to see billboards promoting a seed company, but last week I saw a first: A billboard advertising a class action lawsuit against a seed company . . .

At first I thought this might be farmers suing seed companies for contaminating (pollinating) their non-GMO corn with nearby GMO corn. This happens, but I was surprised there would be enough farmers in that situation to warrant a billboard. After some digging, I found that the lawsuit wasn’t recruiting from this small niche of farmers, but instead every single corn farmer.

That’s right if you planted corn in 2013 or 2014, you could join the lawsuit.

Not Approved in China

Syngenta, the seed company…

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