It all started when I began writing poetry as a little girl....
I still remember my first poem, in fact:
Fireplace, fireplace, oh so warm.
Lots of flies swarm by you
Oh, Mr. Fireplace
Yup. I was an elementary school insect poet. I accompanied my poems with little drawings , so maybe that made me a hybrid word & graphic poet. Not sure. But there are great tomes and boxes of this stuff. Somewhere.
By middle school, I expanded into other genres: complex prosaic descriptions of cats, little essays on
all the things I thought were wrong with my family, a short novel about a boy who stole the moon, and a bit of graffiti on the back of a local grocery store.
At my all-girl highschool, Sandia School, I got serious. I wrote over two hundred poems, about half of them in sonnet form, expressing my love of the mountains of New Mexico, dogs, and a boy named Michael. I edited my school paper, and wrote the poems that meandered through the school yearbook (which I also helped edit). I wrote another short novel, this time about a group of people who decide to live underground. (I wish I could find it.) In my spare time, I pretended to play piano and picked up garbage, a precursor to my later obsession with environmental activism. I helped strangers, a precursor to my later work with homeless women.
Although my father said "poetry is a hobby", I continued my poetic experiment in college where I discovered the joys of free verse, combining it with my penchant for graffiti. I edited my UNM college literary magazine, Conceptions Southwest, and wrote art and film reviews for the college paper, the Daily Lobo (while pasting it up at night for extra cash).
Grad school: Columbia School of the Arts. I served on the staff of Columbia, the literary magazine, wrote some pretty sorry essays about punk rock bands, picked up where I left off in my grade school magical realist mode writing stories, and developed my poetry, essay writing, and journalism. After a failed stint as a library administrator, I wrote and edited for the alumni magazine of the Columbia Business School, and then worked for The New York Times, where I was an editorial assistant, contributing articles to pretty much every section, from the Book Review to Science Times.
After graduation, I proceeded to write for newspapers and magazines and wrote and published nine books of poetry, a book of short stories, a memoir, and co-authored a collection of essays., all while producing and raising a small human being who would become a rather accomplished writer and artist herself when she got larger. Add to this, my taking on the role of conservatorship of my father, who had Alzheimer's, six dogs , over twenty cats, several very tragic bunnies, some chickens, blue tail lizards, spiders, and turtles. I oversaw a very tragic episode of hamster cannibalism and several die offs of exotic fish.
It has been a busy life. But the best part for me, now, is that after a few stints in the newspaper and magazine business and a rather long stint in academia, I found my way to my current role as a book coach, something I was made to do. I am pretty sure I have a DNA marker for editing and shaping manuscripts, and I thrive in this role. I fondly call myself a "memoir doula". People I work with write and publish beautiful essays, articles and gorgeous books. It makes me emotional and often weepy to work with them on their life stories.
But I still have the writing obsession of that child rhapsodizing about the fly. I write essays. I am writing yet another novel, a collection of short stories, a memoir and poems, poems, poems. After several millenia in the cold north east, I finally returned to the place I began. New Mexico. I drive around blissfully, writing poems in cafes, on mountainsides and in the calderas of extinct volcanos, often wondering why I ever left.
I have pretty much given up graffiti. But I will leave that story for another day.
What else can I say here? If you are a person seeking writing assistance, I am your girl.
Thanks for reading all this stuff, and visiting my web site.
Me and the kiddo, now 25.
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