Melissa lives and writes in southwestern Oregon.
Her essays have been published in numerous places including Literary Hub, Oregon Humanities, Longreads, DIAGRAM, Mid-American Review, Guernica, River Teeth, The Rumpus and Bellingham Review among other publications. She has been awarded an AWP Intro Journals award in creative nonfiction as well as residencies and scholarships to Sundress Academy for the Arts, PLAYA, Art Smith, Tin House, and the Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference.
She holds a BA in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz and an MS in Environmental Studies and Writing from the University of Montana. She also holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Her first book of nonfiction, Tracing the Desire Line, was published by Split Lip Press in 2019. It was selected as a finalist for the 2021 Oregon Book Award.
The book, as memoir-in-essays, follows the narrator’s journey as a writer exploring identity, sexuality, and feminine desire through opening her marriage with her husband. Along the way, the book detours into memory and meditations on various subjects that frame the narrator’s story including home, freedom, religion, belonging, love, and wildness.
Melissa is currently at work on a second book of nonfiction titled The Fire Trees—a collection of essays exploring queer ecology, bodies, sexuality, and intimacy through autobiography, archival collage, reimagined histories, and philosophy.
She is nonfiction faculty in the MFA Creative Writing program at Eastern Oregon University.