Dear friends,

Welcome to my website—out here in cyberspace, yet right in front of your eyes and mine.

Nearly 20 years ago, John Daido Louri, Abbott of the Zen Mountain Monastery, told me: "You are a writer. Let your writing be your guide. Let your writing be your mirror. Let your writing be your teacher." From that day to this, I hear Daido's words when I sit down to write.

Throughout my life, I've had the pleasure of listening to thousands of stories and helping people give voice to their own lives. I've written newspaper articles, magazine profiles, and nonfiction books to convey their experiences. Now, I'm giving voice to myself in new ways—surrendering to the process of letting my writing guide, reflect, and teach me as I go.

I'm writing short stories and revising the first of three novels in various stages of completion. I start my work with meditation, which prepares me to free-fall into the magical alchemy of imagination woven with memory, fantasy, improbability and surprise. When I become impatient with my progress, the spirit of my grandmother, who birthed and raised ten children on Indian reservations, reminds me, "All God's trains meet on time."

Peace, love, & power,

"Love, compassion, and forgiveness come as a surprise, disrupt the game, change all the rules--and show the way out."

-Kathryn Watterson
Not By The Sword is now in paperback!

Winner of the Christopher Award, Not By The Sword recounts the real-life transformation of a white supremacist and Grand Dragon of the KKK.

Listen to "He Did It For Morgan"

Click here to listen to Watterson reading an excerpt from this short story about a recently released prisoner.
"Sunshine 320 Days A Year" Around dusk, Dad and I were crossing the Kansas plains in his borrowed 1953 Pontiac, windows open, shirts flapping, on our way to check out a ghost town high in the Colorado mountains where he said the sun shone 320 days of the year. Dad tapped his fingers on the steering wheel, loudly singing a sailor ditty with words like "titty" and "bum" that made me laugh. I breathed in the rich smells of wheat and alfalfa as we sailed through golden fields of grain stretching in every direction as far as I could see. Dad hollered we were going as high as he could crank it—a hundred and five miles an hour. I saw the speedometer jump from 104 to 106. My hair whipped and tangled behind my head, and I became Annie Oakley urging on my horse, gaining on the bandits as I galloped after them with my flying hair.We hadn't seen any other cars or trucks on the two-lane highway for at least an hour, which gave me time for catching bad guys. But then I spotted a white car ahead of us, going in the same direction. My mouth got dry with a nervous Mom-kind-of-feeling that clenched me up inside. When it came to cars on the road in front of us, my dad never slowed down. He caught up and passed, no matter what. He was like that when he arm-wrestled, too—ready to die before he'd back off. I clamped my mouth shut. I wasn't Mom. I wouldn't say a word. Click here to read the rest of Watterson's short story, published in the TriQuarterly in 2010.
"Kitsi Watterson walks the road that Sherwood Anderson describes in Winesburg: Ohio: 'The dark spot by the road that you might not notice at all is, you see, the beginning of everything.' She... is perhaps above all an advocate of the discarded and the violated. But, in some way, there is in her stories the presence of another kind of self--the outraged, the hopeful, the persistent -- like the young nursing home worker who turns cartwheels in the oversized elevator, between floors of old, trashed people who have no advocate, no one to tell their story except a cart-wheel-turning girl."

- Professor Carol de St. Victor, University of Iowa