This is How We Leave


Product Details

Vine Leaves Press
Publish Date
5.0 X 8.0 X 0.41 inches | 0.44 pounds

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About the Author

Joanne Nelson is the author of the memoir, This Is How We Leave. Her writing appears in numerous journals and anthologies. She won the Hal Prize in nonfiction, as well as other literary awards, and has contributed to Lake Effect on Milwaukee's NPR station. Nelson lives in Hartland, Wisconsin, where she teaches at the university level and leads community programs. She gives presentations on mindfulness and writing, creativity, and the second half of life. Nelson holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars, an MSSW from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is a certified meditation instructor. More information is available at


"A wise and generous memoir, keenly observed, unflinchingly recorded, written with humor, empathy, and love. Nelson's coming of age--as a daughter, sister, wife and mother herself--feels worthy and true." Dinah Lenney, author of Coffee

"This is How We Leave is full of sweet and somber recollections of a family that is both happy and unhappy in its own way--as all families are. Nelson is a master of structural ingenuity, of suspense mitigated by calm meditation. Full of quiet, delectable detail--the heightened sounds and smells of bittersweet recollection--This is How We Leave is a book of conflicting emotions, of ambivalence and nostalgia, and a reminder that we come to know those we love the most by hearing and telling stories about them." J.C. Hallman, author of B & Me: A True Story of Literary Arousal

"Joanne Nelson welcomes us into her life like a good friend with coffee and crumb cake. This Is How We Leave offers wrenchingly human stories--about love and loss, abuse and abandonment, betrayal and redemption, traffic tickets and holiday rituals. Something in this writer's voice--a warmth, a wonder--won't let us turn away. Nelson is a keen observer: of her grandfather chewing tobacco at the kitchen table, of her own young comforts (feet "warm and dry in my own bread-lined galoshes"). Nelson's life is filled with both necessary and chosen solitude--yet again and again she shows us the depth and meaning of human connection. This book abounds with honesty. Nelson is not afraid to eat a sandwich at her mother's deathbed; she is not afraid to tell us how she feels about it, then and after. The gift of these stories lies both in their integrity and in the irrefutable call to live a life of courage." Lisa C. Krueger, author of Run Away to the Yard