My sister and I are great liars. World-class liars. Maybe we were born with the trait (after all, our paternal grandmother’s top hobby was shoplifting.) Brooklyn-born Great-Aunt Sally (Jewish, like the rest of the family) pretended to be Catholic and French — and swore she attended the Sorbonne. She even spoke English with a Gallic lilt.
A great-uncle took a new identity — and nobody knows why.
My maternal grandfather practiced bigamy. (We never met him; Grandma cut him out of her life and all the family pictures. Only ancestry.com reunited me (slightly) with that side of the family.
This morning I woke trying to remember the day. Saturday? Ah, wait, it’s New Year’s Eve. Goodbye, 2020. Welcome, 2021?
I looked back into my photos to see where I was in Jan 2020 (only one year ago) and found the picture above — taken at the Highline in New York City. I couldn’t believe it was only one year ago that my husband and I took Amtrak to NY to see Itzhak Perlman at a concert commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz:
Many times since the beginning of the pandemic, I’ve thought of those locked up…
Dear Elected Officials Throughout the United States,
In my state — Massachusetts — Secretary of State William Galvin wants me to deliver my ballot in person (though I’ve already mailed in my primary ballot, so I guess praying for deliverance is my current option.)
I’m glad to have the ballot box option for November’s election; I’m enraged that Trump and his minions are forcing voters to find a workaround for our most basic rights. Every elected official — right and left — must make having an honest election in November their priority.
The time is now — this is an…
I played with the first line, “Everyone hates a fat woman,” for a decade (and published four other novels) before writing Waisted. The story of women obsessed with the scale screamed in my head, but I kept the words locked away. Because writing it meant facing myself. Writ honest, the novel would have to include tales of self-loathing, food needs so intense one snatches it back from the garbage, and dressing room terror because, for me, no story is worth writing without emotional honesty at the core.
And I wanted to avoid this particular honesty.
When I was a child…
“Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.” — Pericles
In this time of societal gnashing of teeth — whatever one’s political inclination — it seems there is at least one thing almost all citizens with a patriotic heart can agree on: voting is not only important, it’s the most reliable way to make a yearly difference in the country. According to Ballotpedia:
Unless one’s made of stone and iron*, writing a novel (Waisted) based on extreme body-shaming & how the eyes of others scorch women, must change one, yes? Pair that with compiling an anthology titled Women Under Scrutiny, and voila, the perfect storm for facing personal crucibles.
Examining ‘knowing one’s character’s crucible**’ is paramount, I tell students when teaching writing seminars; looking at my personal albatrosses is a delve I leave to my unexamined subconscious. (A dissociation at which I excel.) Swimming on the surface personally, as my obsessions reign free in fiction, has been my specialty for quite some time.
Our writer’s code, written into our secret writer club rules, remind us that day jobs stand between us and a published novel. I understand. For years I thought if only and when and someday. And yes, working one, two, three jobs at a time took a big bite out of what would certainly have been my fast track to a Pulitzer. But slogging through, learning at, loving, and hating a number of jobs, that’s what formed and hold up my novels.
The bosses I despised (especially them,) the coworkers who became family, the ones who turned my stomach, those I…
I grew up with the idea that the size of my body was the most important thing in the world — and that my body was always too large.
When I look back at pictures, I see me at normal, chubby, and large — but at no time did I ever see myself as anything but too big and in need of a diet. Every bite I took was measured in self-worth and whether I could afford the calories, or deserved them.
The answer was always a resounding no.
When I received the ‘first pass corrections’ for Waisted (the layout…
If people don’t vote, everything stays the same. You can protest until the sky turns yellow or the moon turns blue, and it’s not going to change anything if you don’t vote.
— Dolores Huerta
1. To ensure our children and grandchildren — and we — have clean air to breathe & an environment in which they can enjoy all the land’s bounties.
2. To respect our ancestors and keep our American family of mankind. Where did your family originate? Because we remember that unless you’re Native American, your family began as immigrants or a slaves. …
Bestselling author. Thrice named “Must Read Books” by the Massachusetts Center for the Book. Teaches writing at the Grub Street Writers’ Center in Boston