If you have found your way here, let me first say thank you. Although I’ve been a writer for many years, this is my first website so I am very excited. Keep your eye on this space for upcoming events. In the meantime, I was told I should write a pithy introduction. I will try.
I started writing when I was a girl, growing up in a small California beach town called San Diego. I have three older brothers, and one of the reasons I started writing is because they teased me unmercifully and I needed an outlet. My mother was also sick, for reasons I didn’t understand, and writing about her illness was like a salve. It’s also why I came to love books. One of my fondest childhood memories is of sitting in my bedroom closet on a stool, between my mother’s cocktail dresses on one side and my pleated skirts and plaid jumpers on the other, absorbed in Charlotte’s Web and Anne of Green Gables and Little Women, the scent of my mother’s Chanel No. 5 enveloping me. Reading and writing saved me because they enabled me to escape and enter other worlds, and to make sense of my own. But they also gave birth to something else of consequence. They allowed me to imagine a different life for myself. One of curiosity and adventure and travel.
I’ve had the privilege of meeting the most fascinating people. One of the most memorable was poet Maya Angelou. I was 25, and had been sent by a magazine to interview her. I nearly fainted in awe when she shook my hand. As we sat in the elegant lobby of the Mark Hopkins hotel, I was so afraid of missing a nuance or a word that my face was buried in my notebook. Finally, she gently asked me to look up. I did. In that moment, she taught a young insecure writer an enduring lesson. Listen to people. Be honest and be present.
People have invited me into their homes, into their lives, and bravely told me their stories. I can still see their faces. The middle-class Southern California mom whose son died of this terrifying new disease called AIDS. The bright 19-year-old Nicaraguan who fled his country because of civil war. The Korean-American shop-owner whose children were killed by their father. The blond boy in a refugee camp in Albania who reminded me of my son, thousands of miles away.
There have been many lighter stories, too. I once wrote a story about a leopard-print bikini, an essay about why I hate football, and a piece about California surfer girls. That was fun, not only because I got to hang out with some awesome young women, but have an excuse to go to the beach. I love to travel, especially to far-off places considered wild or exotic. Recently I went to the Arctic and saw polar bears and puffins and kayaked in the icy Barents Sea. I have been so lucky.
I suppose I should say something about the photos. A few years ago I started doing photography. I love the way it makes me see stories and places in a different way. When I’m feeling uncertain or nervous, sometimes the camera elicits conversation more easily than words.
I hope you enjoy my work. Thank you for coming.