May your days include the careful trust, the warm beating heart and steady breath, of another creature.
May you find inspiration here.
I loved that 35 mm camera so much; I wore the leather off the front of it with my thumb. I still remember the smell of Grandma's cooking that greeted us as soon as the elevator doors opened on 3. The apartment was in Brighton Beach. I took the photo around half a lifetime (mine) ago. I once thought the people in the painting were related to Grandma, with her heavy Ukrainian accent, and Grandpa, a sheet-metal worker who scared me a little. It was said he had a temper, and I suppose he did. But towards the end of his life he insisted on walking me to the bus stop across from their apartment building in Brighton Beach. We'd wait for the bus to arrive. He held my hand the whole while. ka
I consolidated my love of reading and teaching by earning a PhD in Comparative Literature from Brown University, where I received an Excellence in Teaching award. No one in my family knew the slightest bit about Brown, though Mom's dad was familiar with Providence College because of their basketball team. Amtrak cost $27 round trip and was mostly empty the day I visited Brown for the first time. I attended public schools from kindergarten on, began my college experience at Brooklyn College, and completed it at Hunter with a bachelor's degree in Classics and History. I skipped 12th grade for early admissions and was supposed to take the Regents Exams at the end of the school year, but someone stole the answers and the tests that year were cancelled, leaving me without a high school diploma. Nonetheless, over these many years, I've had the honor and pleasure of teaching literature as well as creative writing to folks of all ages, from preschoolers to college students, to assisted living residents. Among other things, teaching makes you love learning, love trying harder, love laughter, love life's ache, love insight, love people. I live in Rhode Island now, among all sorts of wonderful creatures, many of whom are friends.
Memberships and Affiliations
Creature Conserve www.creatureconserve.com/
LitArts RI www.litartsri.org/
Nature Conservancy in RI www.nature.org/en-us/about-us/where-we-work/united-states/rhode-island/
PEN America pen.org/