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Remembering Mary


By Nancy MC Young

Apr 15, 2018 · 3 min read

This is Mary’s Flower. A plate-sized red hibiscus that bloomed and stood guard in front of her front door the day she left us. I took this photo to commemorate her home-going and it will remain my phone’s screensaver as a reminder of the beauty and grace that was my mom. The force of Mary’s personality could be felt in any room, and in death she left no flower unfurled. Her radiant spirit freed at last had brushed past this bud on her way out for the last time, and her boundless energy burst it into bloom.

Georgia O'Keefe Inspired Me

to Write:  Las Cruses


By Nancy MC Young

Apr 15, 2018 · 4 min read

Yesterday I left the historic Mabel Dodge Luhan House to find the crosses of old Taos made famous by one of my favorite late turn-of-the-century painters, Georgia O’Keefe. I walked down to the main road from the house without a clear idea of where they were, except for the names of a few lanes that someone had mentioned the night before. I walked down Kit Carson Road, remembering what a friend had said about the locals wanting to change the name to something more palatable to the locals in honor of the natives. Good thing, I thought. When I found the road named “Las Cruses,” I knew it was the right one; “cruses” being the word for crosses in Spanish of course.


Tiger Mom,

Lion Queen


By Nancy MC Young

May 6, 2018 · 6 min read

Last October, three generations of our Lee and Young family burned incense and paper money to celebrate our Mom, Sister, Aunt and Grandma’s life, to help her on the journey to her next life — her “Home-going” as they say in Taiwan.  This is the story of my mother, Mary Feyuan Young, nee Lee. She was born in a small village on the lush green island of Taiwan, just outside of Tainan City in the south called Guanmiao — literally “old temple.” It is named for the oldest Taoist temple dedicated to Guanyin, the Goddess of Islands and Fishermen...

Libraries are the

foundation of great



Guest commentary by Nancy Young

PUBLISHED: September 23, 2013 at 12:00 am 

Last week, my daughter and a dozen of her friends gathered for the last time at our home before dispersing to their respective UC campuses. As a parent I was proud to see their maturity, intelligence, self-awareness and excitement about leaving home at last to find their way through the world as young adults. It occurred to me at about 2 a.m., as they began their bittersweet exodus, that the reason these young people are so well equipped is that they are the products of the best of American public education.

For the first time in a long while, I thought deeply about the nature of public institutions — about our schools, libraries, transport, courts and so on. I was happy in the realization that our public system really has succeeded, and not failed us as you hear frequently in the news. In fact, I began to realize that these institutions are really the foundation of our civilization. Yet, do we understand their true value? And could we live without them? The answer may be yes...

A Portrait of the Writer

as a Young MIA (Master

of International Affairs)




On June 13, 2013, I began my journey as a novelist. Before that, I was a wannabe writer, artist, cultural consultant, traveler, parent, and part-time environmentalist. Strum was my first published novel, and it went on to win six awards including a USA Best Book and IPPY Silver Medal. It was a featured selection in the Library Journal’s national SELF-e Collection, and in 2016 was one of their 25 Most Read eBooks of the year. Not bad for an independently published book about love, family, spirits, guitar music, war and race discrimination. In these troubled times, however, stories like mine are more important than ever.


I’ve been asked often how I evoke all the different historical time periods and geographical locations so well in Strum. My answer is: I was born in Taiwan, grew up in Pasadena, traveled extensively with my family, was educated bi-coastal, and worked in Australia for over a decade. As an English major at UC Berkeley, I read a lot of historical and literary novels. But ultimately, my MIA (Master of International Affairs) from Columbia University laid the foundation from which I draw locations and historical context for my very global tales. I’ve studied world history, global politics, economic development, literature in four languages (English, French, German and Chinese)...

40-Something reluctantly

joins POF, enters Big Bang 



by Nancy Young


PUBLISHED: September 23, 2013 at 12:00 am |

Throwing a line into the cyber-fishing pond for a date on a Friday night is as scary as it is (too) easy. I signed up on the dating site Plenty of Fish last year, and while I had my doubts, I was still optimistic about finding my soul mate — otherwise, why do it at all? Just because I'm on the slippery side of 45 doesn't mean it's all over for me.  I'd had a 16-year marriage that ended in divorce six years ago, and my 18-year-old daughter was finally off at college. I'd been through the wringer these past six years, first with an on-again, off-again long-distance relationship with an old flame I'd reconnected with through Facebook.


After that, there were others I'd met in real life — a widower, a couple of recently divorced men. Each of them started out optimistically but fizzled when it became apparent that they wanted something different, i.e. younger, thinner, easier, simpler, bustier. Then my 30-year-old niece told me about a dating site called Plenty of Fish that "everyone" was on. We joked about going on double dates with uncle-nephew pairs, and I said jokingly, "Yes, and I'll end up with the nephew and you with the uncle!" We laughed heartily, but in my gut I wanted this to be true more than I wanted to admit. A few weeks later, I signed up... 

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