Joanne Nelson

Writer, Psychotherapist

Joanne Nelson is the author of the memoir, This is How We Leave, forthcoming from Vine Leaves Press. Her writing appears in anthologies and literary journals such as Brevity, the Citron Review, the museum of americana, and Redivider. Nelson lives in Hartland, Wis., where she develops and leads community programs, maintains a psychotherapy practice, and adjuncts. More information about Joanne Nelson can be found here.

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If you’re a writer, describing places and people in your life can be important to the context of your stories. But writers also come across the predicament of whether or not to use a person’s real name.

For Lake Effect contributor Joanne Nelson, she hadn’t really thought about asking her family’s permission to use their real names for her memoir. But, she came to realize it wasn’t something she should’ve assumed was alright. Nelson shares this in her essay titled, “Who’s in a Name?”

Essay: Still Life

Jan 29, 2020
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The relationships we share with our siblings are unique — whether some consider it a bond, or at times, a burden. For Lake Effect essayist Joanne Nelson, thinking about her brother brings up many mixed emotions. She remembers the man once filled with buzzing energy while contending with the image of who he turned into:

Essay: Leftovers

Nov 27, 2019
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A big meal like Thanksgiving can leave us with a refrigerator full of leftovers. And for some folks, the leftovers are the best part - as long as you don’t let them sit too long. Lake Effect essayist Joanne Nelson has been thinking about what the contents of our refrigerators say about us - to others:

Essay: In My Office

Oct 24, 2019
Joanne Nelson

Joanne Nelson has a framed photograph on her desk that makes her think about time, loss, and family. She explores these feelings in this essay, "In My Office."

Essay: Love Lost

Feb 12, 2016
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If you needed reminding, Sunday is Valentine’s Day. And Lake Effect essayist Joanne Nelson uses the occasion to think about her Milwaukee girlhood and loves gone by.

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If we’re very lucky, one of our enduring memories is being read to by one or both of our parents. Lake Effect essayist Joanne Nelson was fortunate enough to have that experience:

At night my mother and I would crawl into her bed with potato chips and a bowl of her homemade dip between us, the family dog at our feet, tail thumping, always hopeful. We ignored his begging and concentrated on our reading material; me with my Little House books, Mom with her Good Housekeeping and McCall’s.

Essay: Hangers

Aug 14, 2015
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A few months ago, we introduced you to a woman who helps people downsize, or eliminate a household.  That can happen when someone dies, or moves into assisted living.  It is, physically, a big job, but as Lake Effect essayist Joanne Nelson can attest, the job’s emotional toll is just as large: