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About me

It all began with a migraine headache that felt like a brain freeze. I told my mom I’d rather be dead. 

Allow me to explain: In December of 1984, when I was 10 years old, I was diagnosed with an arteriovenous malformation--an abnormal, snarled tangle of blood vessels that cause multiple irregular connections between arteries and veins. I had my first 10-hour craniotomy on Christmas Eve. My story was unique, and Borgess Medical Center featured a story about me in its newsletter, simply titled, “Tara.”  

And in that moment, I discovered the power of language. I had always been an avid reader, but I hadn’t ever explored words from the writer’s perspective or considered how they could inspire and empower people.     

I’ve been writer ever since. I remember writing a descriptive essay about a family trip to Kellogg Forest that same year, describing the sights and sounds in great detail. I was asked to read it to my fifth-grade class, which was memorable because I didn’t like my teacher, and she only liked the super-smart kids. My first "publication" won the Young Author's Book Club. I called it The Year I Slept Through Christmas.

The rest, as they say (whoever "they" are), is history. From higher ed to technical writing, editing, journalism and marketing, words have always been my passion. 

I played piano for years and would have liked to have been a concert pianist, but being paralyzed on the left side from my third craniotomy foiled those plans. I survived middle school and high school and went on to earn a bachelor's degree in English (community journalism) from Western Michigan University in 1996. I followed that up with a two-year master’s program in organizational communication from 1999 to 2001 to work on my self-proclaimed communication apprehension. Most people are surprised to learn that I’m an introvert—especially those who attended my spinning classes.

I started teaching spinning in 2006. I lost that job in 2020 due to COVID and purchased a Peloton bike. When I’m not on an indoor “bike ride to nowhere,” I enjoy playing word games like Dabble and reading. I am on a mission to read MLA's 100 Best Novels (the board’s list). In addition to the classics, I enjoy contemporary fiction, crime/thrillers, historical fiction, memoirs and some chick lit—a little bit of that goes a long way. My favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird. I also enjoy paper crafting (card making and scrap booking) and listening to music, especially Coldplay and the Fiery Furnaces. My brother used to own the very hip Neptune Records in Royal Oak and influenced my eclectic taste in music. Now he writes a "mix-tape" blog: Oystered.   

I believe that the best things in life are the people we love, the places we’ve been and the memories we’ve made along the way. That’s why on February 1, 2014, I decided to do one new thing every day for a year. You can follow my “journey of firsts” on Twitter. Many of them have included my closest friends, cool places like Amadeus in Ann Arbor and the Salted Cupcake in Schoolcraft and eventually 365+ great memories, minus the day without swearing, Star Wars and the experimentation with country music, thus far.   

Random stuff about me (in no particular order)

  • I don't own a pair of pants. In fact, the only items of clothing I own with legs are tights and my biking shorts, by necessity.
  • I believe there’s “a place for everything and everything in its place.” The first time I heard this phrase was on Frasier. 
  • I have the coolest brother in the universe. No further explanation needed if you know him. 
  • I don't have a Facebook account. Even my best friend can't persuade me to join, so please don't ask me to make an exception for you. 
  • I know the alphabet backwards. ZY an X-Warrior his wife gave him a coupon. "VUTS (what's) R (are) QPON (coupon) for" he asks? "for MLK (milk) JIHGs (jugs) to FED (feed) the CBA (Cute Baby Alligators)."
  • I haven't driven on the highway since driver's ed for a couple of reasons, one of which is that I'm geographically challenged. 
  • I type lightning fast with one hand.
  • My favorite word is oxymoron, and my favorite oxymoron is "good morning." I also like the word onomatopoeia. 
  • My favorite TV show of all time was USA's La Femme Nikita. 
  • I hate caramel and love peanut butter. My friend Phil says I shouldn't use the word hate, but you can't know love without hate. 
  • I always wear lipstick (Origins' jasmine). Origins' poppy was a first on day 97.   
  • The scrapbook commemorating my dad's life weighs 11 pounds. 
  • I've never colored my hair, but I've had some of it shaved four times. It's curlier on the right side than it is on the left. 
  • The only pets I've ever had were fish. My brother and I had an outdoor pet turtle for less than a day. We put an ornamental fence around him when we found him in the yard and filled up a frisbee with water for swimming/ drinking. Mr. T, as we called him, was gone the next day. He escaped!
  • I've been in seven car accidents, and only one of them was my fault. 
  • I'm missing my permanent lateral incisors. I share this defect with my mom.  
  • My best friend and I invented a holiday to celebrate our friendship. It's called Tararah Day.
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