Love Me Some Death

Mar 6, 2015 by

I’m the morbidity guru, according to San Diego Voice. I write a semi-regular article for City Beat on Death. The links are below. One about Death Cafes, or at least my sardonic take on these lovely tea and cake events. And another is about my love for graveyards, and obituaries. To me, some of the most interesting people exist in the obituary column, and I’m not talking celebrity obits. Please, I prefer ordinary folk, like the member of the mariachi band for JFK’s funeral, or the inventor of the poodle skirt.  My next article is due out on April 27, and it looks like it will be about Near Death Experience Association. I’m not a believer of the Afterlife, but these folks have some interesting meetings and discussions. Many stories. June, I’m looking into the...

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Novels & Memoirs

Nov 15, 2014 by

While I write my own books, I also work with others on their novels. I love the process of writing a book. I have just finished my memoir about growing up in Africa and South America (forthcoming from University of Nebraska Press, American Lives Series 2017) and I’m champing at the bit to get back to fiction. The way I keep my appetite whetted is working with students in workshops, classes and one-on-one on their novels and memoirs. I ran the Revisionistas Writing Group for twelve years. Each member is about to finish their own marvelous novel. I also facilitate along with David Ulin 200-page manuscript workshop. Starting in January, I will be teaching Novel I at UCSD Extension. And, I love to edit novels and memoirs to get them to that final stage...

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Cherry Cabernet Brownies

Jun 24, 2014 by

Here I am wanting to start my recipe blog and never get around it, then one day I’m on facebook and I mention Cherry Cabernet Brownies and everyone wants the recipe, that if I had my blog going I could readily post. Instead, I have to post it here among my other mental meanderings. Alas, it’s still great to share. I’m without a photo of the brownies, so grapes will have to do. I call them Spicy because I add extra cinnamon to almost everything that calls for it. So, if you do the same, be sure to adjust the rest of the dry ingredients accordingly, so the brownies will be moist. Cherries, cinnamon, cabernet and chocolate. Is there really any need for anything else in life?? Here’s the recipe! Cherry Cabernet Brownies Servings:...

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Saturday & Mr. Kline

Jun 24, 2014 by

A co-worker, Mia, liked to tell me that our names were mirror images. A-me. Me-A. Okay. We both worked as drive-up tellers and had many regular customers. One, a sad woman whose little boy dangled himself out the car window while she tried to fill out a check. A veterinarian who tempted us with adoptable abandoned strays. The owner of the pipe and knife store in the mall whose deposit money smelled of cherry almond tobacco. And then Mr. Kline in his green Crown Victoria and bitter scowl. Even though he wasn’t a Merchant, the lanes where he had to manipulate canisters that got sucked up into the vacuum tube were too much trouble, he said, so he always came to the first lane with the automatic drawer meant for large merchant transactions. When...

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Tuesday and Mrs. Tibbles

Jun 24, 2014 by

Mrs. Tibbles, a character in my next novel, is inspired by a friend and student I had many years ago who had been a Martha Graham dancer. She had that willowy bend to her arms and legs. The lilt of her head that said grace. Her shoulders square and straight, but not soldiery. She worked on a memoir of her dancing days in the writing workshop I facilitated. Her stories were tales of working with Zero Mostel, Tennesee Williams, entertaining Russian delegates in her dinky New York apartment, serving dinner on a table made from her bathroom door laid over two bookcases. I picture her in a velvet and lace red dress while pouring ouzo or chilled vodka into tiny crystal glasses. That last part is in my head, details that arrange themselves based...

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Three Weeks on The Road

Jun 24, 2009 by

I spent the last three weeks on the road. The first two weeks I was in Saratoga Springs, NY at my favorite annual summer event–New York State Summer Writers Institute. I get to hang out with the likes of Robert Pinsky (who is a great joke teller), Marilynne Robinson (who giggles) and Mary Gordon (who I have a huge crush on), and many other National Book Award, Pulitzer, Literari Emeritus award winners and nominees. Why I am there? I can tell a pretty good joke at the dinner table too. Or at least I think that’s why they keep asking me back. This was my ninth year. As part of my job as writer-in-residence I read student manuscripts. This year I read five novels-in-progress, each one unique and intriguing in its own way. I...

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