I have helped motivate, support, and challenge others for the better part of four decades in the classroom and through the written word. I am a problem-solver—my philosophy is that we can tackle just about anything as long as we have the right tools, which include education and hope. I do my best to supply those.

The mountain pictured above is my healer, the East Spanish Peak in Southern Colorado. My family has a sweet little homemade cabin at its base. In 2013, this scene was ground zero for the East Peak Fire, which devastated our forest and wounded our mountain—and us.  

I wrote Burn Scars: A Mountain Valley Memoir to honor the land we have lost and to show the grief shared by all living things on our beautiful mountain. Through replanting, erosion control, and clean-up, I am now trying to heal my healer, but the toll on my body, mind, and spirit has taken me by surprise. It was only through writing that I understood what I lost and how it affected me. I’m terrified that this could all happen again. And it could. Actually, it probably will.

Check out my blog for more photos of the mountain and the after-effects of the fire.

I am the author of Surviving Triple-Negative Breast Cancer and co-author of The Magazine from Cover to Cover.  At Drake University, I was the E.T. Meredith Distinguished Professor of Journalism, the director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, and architect of the university’s magazine journalism program. 

I like spinning tales so much that when I retired from teaching at Drake University, they created the Patricia Prijatel Storyteller Award for students who create “journalism that informs and inspires.”

I try to help people make sense of things, to encourage them on whatever journey they embark on, and to be a friend.  My last name, by the way, is the Slovenian word for friend.