Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story
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#62 Micah Ling: Outside of Time

Micah Ling’s name has always given her problems. She is not Asian or a man. She is Native American (mostly) and a woman (completely). Micah has a twin brother, but she was born first (by about 45 seconds), and her twin likes to say that she ditched him (which she would never do). She loves her family and thinks of her parents as her best friends. She started writing her mother little poems when she was about 7 years old. Her father drives a motorcycle and she started running with him when she was 10 years old. When she was 11 years old, she became a vegetarian after seeing how the turkey was killed on Thanksgiving. It made her sad, especially since she gives a name to every animal that she sees. Micah ran through high school and through college. Running is her meditation and she can think about things while she’s running without getting overwhelmed. Micah went to Indiana University for her MFA in poetry and MA in literature—and met her future husband, Nate, there in Bloomington. Nate drove a motorcycle and she would ask him to give her a ride on his bike every time she saw him. After about a year of asking, he did and that was the beginning of them. It is years later and she continues to live on his endless supply of kindness and forgiveness. It is years later and Micah is still running, but her feet are full of pains these days. In college, she ran the national race with a broken foot that still comes back on her. She wishes that she had never raced. She would rather just run outside of time or competition. Now she has the best job she could have, teaching writing and literature. And she still writes poems, often formal poems, so that she can break all the rules.

[Update #1: Micah Ling and Nate Jackson married.]

[Update #2: Micah Ling just published her first full-length collection, Three Islands.]
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#76 Deborah Ling Has the God Gene

Deborah Ling has the God gene. Her life-long pursuit of God started on the farm where she grew up and where she would have mystical interactions with other planes—particularly the earth, animals, and rocks. She has always known how to get along with the earth. Once, she had an interaction with beings from another planet, but knew enough, at her young age, to not tell anybody. When Deborah was 10 years old, her father died unexpectedly and Deborah felt abandoned and angry. Her mother’s mental illness got worse and Deborah started studying survivalism: she knew that she would have to take care of herself. Deborah married young, but this was mostly so her mother would disown her, which she did (her mother re-owned her years later). In the midst of her divorce from this brief abusive marriage, Deborah met her second husband at her sister’s wedding. There was an undeniably connection, but they weren’t ready for each other yet. The second time Deborah saw her second husband was a year later at her sister’s house. The fifth time they saw each other was on their wedding day. Now they’ve been married 34 years. Deborah used to work as a therapist, but now she earns her living as a spiritual director and practices shamanism. She is a healer and a servant to others. She is somebody you can tell things that you have never told anybody before, not even yourself. She gives so much to other people, but loves her husband, her two kids, and her dog even more, which is kind of staggering, that amount of love. She is most proud of channeling her two children into this world, in part because they are both working artists. There isn’t anything that either of her children could do to make Deborah stop loving them. Deborah also loves playing the drums, especially the way that the rhythms change her brain waves and allow her to connect to the different planes of being that surround all of us.


[Update: Deborah Ling is launching her fourth shamanism training class, which begins on Saturday, September 12. It's open to anyone willing to learn more about earth medicine. It's a ten month training, meeting once a month, on a Saturday at the Center for Shamanic Practice in Columbus, OH.]

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#118 Nate Jackson Loves His Life So Far


Nate Jackson was born in Mishawaka, Indiana on January 17th, 1981 (less than 24 hours after his wife was born). School bored Nate and he was often sent to the principal's office. In 5th grade, he got caught hiding under his teacher’s desk, which resulted in him spending a week’s worth of recesses under the principal’s desk. Disliking school led to poor grades, which led school counselors to think him simple-minded, which led to 3 days of intense scrutiny and testing by a child psychologist, which led to the discovery that Nate could perform at an 11th-grade level. That was when he was in 7th grade, the same year Nate’s parents got divorced and he lashed out even more in school. He was always a kid who loved to blow things up. Nate skipped 8th grade and was sent to a yeshiva in Chicago. He would never live with his parents again, only seeing them for brief summer visits and school vacations. But Nate hated living in a dorm and 9th grade was a disaster. After a couple suspensions, he was asked to not return and went to live in Cleveland with his uncle. He attended a smaller yeshiva where he could get more personal attention, but, after a year, his uncle moved away. Nate lived his last two years of high school with the Falk family, where Mr. Falk taught him how to play guitar, which Nate learned, along with how to write songs. It became his art. After high school, Nate moved to Israel to study at a rabbinical college, but quit after 1 ½ years, and became a sniper for the Israeli army. Of course, given previous discipline problems, Nate hated the army. He stopped being religious based on his newly-heightened self-awareness. After he got out of the army, he denounced violence and became a peace protester in the West Bank and Gaza. After a year of that, Nate returned to the US to attend Indiana University. His last semester at IU, Nate met his future wife, Micah Ling, and, after a few months of her asking him for a ride on his motorcycle, he said yes. It's been love ever since. Last year, they moved to Nashville so Nate could play music, but they missed the easy Indiana life and moved back to Bloomington. As an adult, Nate has grown close to his parents again and he loves them dearly. He also loves his life so far. Nate still plays music every single day, usually after he wakes up—because his voice is raw and his fingers are calm. His time with Micah and their bashful dog Bourbon has sugarcoated his sour memories and rounded his rough edges. They've been together for 4 years and got married on October 5th in a park near their house. Nate loves Micah more than anything and he will live every adventure with her for the rest of his life.

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#62 Micah Ling: Outside of Time or Competition

Micah Ling’s name has always given her problems. She is not Asian or a man. She is Native American (mostly) and a woman (completely). Micah has a twin brother, but she was born first (by about 45 seconds), and her twin likes to say that she ditched him (which she would never do). She loves her family and thinks of her parents as her best friends. She started writing her mother little poems when she was about 7 years old. Her father drives a motorcycle and she started running with him when she was 10 years old. When she was 11 years old, she became a vegetarian after seeing how the turkey was killed on Thanksgiving. It made her sad, especially since she gives a name to every animal that she sees. Micah ran through high school and through college. Running is her meditation and she can think about things while she’s running without getting overwhelmed. Micah went to Indiana University for her MFA in poetry and MA in literature—and met her future husband, Nate, there in Bloomington. Nate drove a motorcycle and she would ask him to give her a ride on his bike every time she saw him. After about a year of asking, he did and that was the beginning of them. It is years later and she continues to live on his endless supply of kindness and forgiveness. It is years later and Micah is still running, but her feet are full of pains these days. In college, she ran the national race with a broken foot that still comes back on her. She wishes that she had never raced. She would rather just run outside of time or competition. Now she has the best job she could have, teaching writing and literature. And she still writes poems, often formal poems, so that she can break all the rules.
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