I write articles, essays, fiction, poetry… pretty much any literary form where words appear, I’ve done it. This has been the case since the moment in my western Pennsylvania childhood when I realized that “mouse” rhymed with “house” and I decided to put pencil to paper to make use of that fact.

I was that kid in school who helped other kids study their spelling words, actually enjoyed diagramming sentences, and once persuaded several classmates to start a school newspaper with me, which sadly only lasted for one issue, but hey, what an issue. When I discovered that I wouldn’t have to take calculus if I signed up for both Spanish and French, the only two languages my high school offered, I went for it. Thus my fascination with language expanded to include other languages too. In college I shifted to studying Chinese (Mandarin)—not my major but a serious interest nonetheless. After college, I bounced from job to job, working short stints as an editorial assistant at a weekly community newspaper, office manager at a small company that organized conferences for museum professionals, marketing associate at a nonprofit, and an ESL teacher in Taiwan. In 2001, I gave up trying to work “normal” jobs and “became a writer.”

In 2010, I changed my name from Dawn Stanton to Grace Warren, which made explaining old bylines to new people a little awkward but was nonetheless worthwhile for personal reasons. In the first half of the 2010s, I briefly forayed into archaeology and forensic anthropology, only to discover I have, well, maybe the temperament, but definitely not the stamina for it. While at a field school in Guatemala, I gained a strong foundation in human skeletal analysis and a better understanding of the DNA extraction process thanks to lectures and hands-on guidance from scientists at the Fundación de Antropología Forense de Guatemala (FAFG). My embarrassingly brief stint as an archaeology grad student led me back to my passion for languages, thanks to an (incredibly understanding and patient) advisor from China. I will always greatly admire and support the work being done by forensic anthropologists and archaeologists worldwide.

FAFG Forensic anthropologist Daniel Gaytan patiently listens as I attempt to identify trauma on skeletal remains during a workshop, Guatemala City, Guatemala, October 2014.

My rotating assortment of personal interests has, for the most part, settled on music. I’ve played clarinet for 30 and bass clarinet for 12+ years, and have spent nearly a decade trying to get my head around improvisation. Eternal thanks to the two guitar teachers, Steve Hotra and Jeffree White, who were willing to teach music theory to a clarinetist. I’ve performed with a variety of groups, including a community band, big band, gypsy steampunk group, and a café jazz trio. In 2017, I started dueting with a classical cellist. I want to see if I can convince her to swing Bach. Yes, it can be done.

How many people can say they’ve played bass clarinet while wearing a corset? I’m second from right—in the corset. Gypsy steampunk band Cascadian Airship at the McMenamins’ UFO Festival, McMinnville, OR, May 2015.