I make up stories. Sometimes I write them and sometimes I paint them. And sometimes I photograph things. My drugs of choice are coffee and the roads out west of the Mississippi. I wish I could travel every highway out there. Another drug of choice is good music of all types. Having married a talented musician, who became a talented producer as well, I've thus had the good fortune to be always around good music.
I finally, in 2012, wrote the below for the "about" page. I wrote it on the fly and should change it, put some more thought into it.
1 Who are you and where are you from?
People always give where they're from, don't they? I was born in Kansas, I grew up in Richland and Seattle, Washington, then the family relocated down to Georgia and a part of the South where the South liked its South to be populated with Southerners, and there wasn't a trace of South in my family's blood. I met a Southerner who wasn't a Southerner despite the fact his family and ancestors had never been above the Mason-Dixon line and I married him. I suppose our son is a hybrid.
2 What do you do?
I write. I have always written. Novels, and I've had some plays produced. The way that I write is laborious and takes forever. So, I also paint and do photography because I like doing them and because they--especially the photography--are less time intensive. It takes years for a book to be completed. Though I may work years on a series of photographs or paintings, I don't labor over a single one for five to ten years. Photographs are pretty much immediate gratification.
3 You used to do plays?
Yes, I used to write plays and had a number of them produced from my late twenties to when our son was born, when I was 40. Writing is a very isolating activity and plays were enjoyable for the reason that I was always a part of the production as a consultant and invited to be very involved--artistic design, coaching, etc. I did a number of plays but I was a writer of literature in the novel form first and returned to it with the birth of my son.
4 If you have always written and written and written, why do you have only two books for sale on your website?
My writing style was at first completely different from what it eventually involved into. Early on, I was influenced by Robbe-Grillet and surrealism. I spent years writing and developing and eventually broke completely from that. I used to think those early novels were good works. Perhaps they are. I was told they were. I certainly spent many years trying to get them published but was always told they were too avant-garde. Some are stashed away in boxes and I will likely never look at them again and would never offer them up to others now. Most were poetic in their sensibility, intensely psychological. Intentionally thick with description and minimal on plot. It's not that I didn't have a comedic voice. I did, but comedy didn't fit in with with the early works. Then I got into the plays and that took many years of my time. While I was doing the plays, I very soon began using that comedic sensibility, feeling out timing. It was dark comedy. Very dark. And I found I really liked abusing my characters with it, which I know must sound odd. But it's an empathetic dark comedy. When life isn't plain out and out tragedy, it's black comedy. The germ for Unending Wonders of a Subatomic World (or) In Search of the Great Penguin was sprouted while I was still doing the plays, but I completely re-envisioned it after I had quit theater and subsequently spent years honing its comedy and message. I'd written myth and psychology and archetypes before but it was with Unending Wonders... I decided to write directly about society and culture. Then came Thunderbird and the Ball of Twine (A Folk Tale) which is a different style from Unending Wonders... but still has a lot of dark comedy to it.
Perhaps through my experience in theater, and post-theater experience, I also became interested in literature as a possibly transformative experience for the reader. In a way, that interest had always been there. I have always been interested in the transformation and initiation myths. But if I had an "artist's statement" that I needed to compose on it, what I would write now would be far different from what I have written in my 20s and 30s. Back then I wrote for sake of the word, for story, for word pictures, for effect, for atmosphere, and, yes, for something beyond all that. Now I write for sake of the mythical and the reality of transformative experience embedded in its telling, to put it as simply as possible. What I mean is that is the "about" of it all.
5 What are your credentials?
Curiosity and a desire to learn. But you'll want more than that. Did I go to college? Of course. I went to college. I worked my way through. Of course I majored in English. I had wanted to go into cinema and was accepted into the film school at NYU but ended up not being able to go because life and far more important matters happened. So I did the English major path at a local college, working as well, was always dean's list. But I wasn't going to be an academic. I had completed just about everything but my basic math and science requirements (example: 12 and 24, of course I know the answer, it's 63--dyslexia can really screw you over and all the work arounds I developed for dealing with it in other areas couldn't compensate for reversing numbers and other dyslexic problems) when I decided to hell with this, a very lousy experience in school also convincing me to drop out. Had I wanted to be an academic I could have gone to school elsewhere and finished up my degree, but I didn't know what I would do with a bachelor's degree with a dual major in English and French. I had an anti-authoritarian sensibility. I wanted to write. That was my vision. I had been writing all the while. I dropped out and kept on doing odd jobs for rent and food money, and sometimes went on the road with my husband, who is a musician, where at least I was always assured a meal. Eventually, I purchased lights and worked lights. I worked more odd jobs and quit them. I went into theater, wrote plays, was involved in productions, and continued working odd jobs. Then I quit theater, went back to the novel form, became a mother and that is its own job, especially as we homeschool. We didn't want our son to experience what we had in school. He was a creative personality from the start, he had a lot of joy in life, and we didn't want school beating that out of him and ruining his self-esteem and sucking the joy out of him. We didn't want him growing up thinking his potential was all a matter of tests and grades. He also never showed any interest in going to school. He watched all the PBS cartoons that showed how great school was, and he still never wanted to go.
I've striven to be dedicated to my craft, to eventually write a few stories I thought really spoke to the human condition and were worthwhile. I wrote a lot in my 20s and 30s, wrote enough and lived enough to have a dramatic change in philosophy of approach, so that I write very little comparatively to back then but it is by intention and as I am doing something different with it.
There. Those are my credentials. Foolish? Decidedly so. If I went back in time, I would likely do almost all of it the same way all over again.
6 What kind of a person are you?
Oh, so foolish and always on such a fool's errand, but you know that already. I'm a skeptical idealist. My husband and son are better equipped to answer that question. They would answer more positively than I would, so out of consideration to myself I'll leave it to them.
7 What are you working on now?
Selling Unending Wonders of a Subatomic World (or) In Search of the Great Penguin and Thunderbird and the Ball of Twine (A Folk Tale), which means being baffled. My brain isn't equipped for that. And working now on something new.