Who I Am and What I Am Doing

I’ve often been asked to write a brief biography, to explain who I am–one of those linear statements of life that no one likes to read: I was born here, moved there, traveled in between.

The way we talk about ourselves so rarely tells the reader much: those rational details–my height, my weight, number of husbands, number of children. Titles of my published stories, poems. How I wrote my current novel.

My book, Book Doctor took years to write.

What’s often most interesting about all of us is what we do not say. Here’s what I can tell you, that you might like to know. I love to write, and always have: the way words fall out right onto a page, out from some mysterious place I do not know. I love stories, especially stories from strangers: the tall foreign woman who sat next to you on a plane, who tells you every single thing she can about her life, then vanishes at the Cleveland airport, leaving you with her story forever.


Many years ago, those could be the opening words of much of my writing because many years have been in my life, I started writing. My parents were Jewish bridge players and we lived in a small factory town in Connecticut. Several times a week they played bridge with their best friends, the Galens, and I would sit at the top of the stairs with a black and white spotted notebook and a BIC pen. We bought our BICS in big job lots at the BIC factory nearby, and we bought our Lenders Bagels the same way. My parents and their bridge companions would speak in the crazy elliptical language of bridge, and I, trying to understand what they meant, what they were really talking about, would make up conversations.

Mike (my father): Do you think a person could overdose on ice cream??

Sara (my mother): Never.

This went on for years and I became accustomed to making it up and writing it down. Those two activities have been in my life’s center forever.