For over seventeen years, I've made my home in the mountains of Asheville, NC... yet my story begins in Pittsburgh PA where in 1966 I was born, the youngest of four children. Early on, I was a storyteller and creatively inclined. As I approached elementary school, I didn’t tell as many stories but I began to write – it suited me even better, being the introvert that I am. By the third grade I knew I wanted to be a writer someday.
But I also have ambidextrous qualities, many interests, and my life goals have not usually followed a straight path. My professional journey has been disjointed but indeed interesting; undoubtedly these diverse experiences sometimes find their way into my written works.
As a teacher and ropes course instructor, I’ve had the opportunity to work with preschoolers, teens, upper tier corporate managers, and students with both physical and mental challenges. I’ve facilitated team-building, which has a lot of connotations and an amazing scope – firsthand I’ve witnessed just how much mirroring there really is between our work lives, our emotional lives, our foundational belief systems, and our physicality.
As a courier in a large metropolitan city, I’ve zipped through roadways most never see, often on excruciating deadlines and handling bank deposits totaling in the millions. Moreover, being a courier gave me a unique opportunity to look in on very brief snapshot moments, much like an outsider at a keyhole, with hundreds of working professionals during random minutes of their corporate lives. Rather fascinating.
As an environmental activist and wildlife rehabilitator, I’ve learned to trust my instincts. Animals and the natural world are my close companions; much like time spent writing, my time with animals and the outdoors rejuvenates me and brings me back to myself. I am reminded that all is well, and that there is vast communication beyond the spoken word.
As a business entrepreneur, despite my attempts to fight tooth-and-nail, I’ve expanded my understanding of the interplay between marketability and creative expression. I’ve also continued to broaden my experiences with the general public, and with the political arena as it applies to being a small business owner.
All of these experiences have matured my perspective, to say the least. Through the years, however, I have always maintained my artistic vision, and found ways to incorporate creative elements into any type of work that I do.
And of course, my first career focus has always been as an author, and finding ways to share my writing. The purposefulness I find herein is at the core of who I am.
Currently, I live in Asheville, NC with my partner & our two daughters. Our wooded four-acre homestead overlooks a pristine winding river and is home to a diversity of wildlife as well as our menagerie of pets.
It’s also interesting to note a little more about where I come from...
My family moved around quite a lot when I was younger, and my siblings were several years older so in some ways I was an only child. I had the experiences inherent in changing schools every few years, and in seeing how people are similar and also different in various parts of the country.
My Dad was a nuclear physicist, and he wanted me to become a scientist too. It’s a long story. A very long story. The short version is that my Dad loved me very much, and that he was truly a brilliant man, but he didn’t understand a few important & interesting things: 1) Yes, I studied biochemistry in undergraduate school, but that’s not what my Bachelor’s Degree is in. Nonetheless, by much of his definition, I’ve ended up a scientist. And being creative, and being a theoretical physicist, are actually very closely related. 2) The human mind is vaster than the sum of its parts. I don’t believe I’ll ever know why this concept eluded him so.
As for my Mom, she loves me very much too, and is brilliant (some say more so than my father was) and has taught me amazing things about music and interpreting the world and drawing and creativity. Yet she too did not think I should be allowed to pursue writing. “Writers are depressed,” she said, reiterating comments from my Dad when I was 14 or so, “and they say terrible things about their mothers.” Well, she wasn’t exactly right on that one. I love you, Mom, maybe more than you actually believe. I think you’re a very powerful woman, and I thank you so much for the gifts you’ve given me.
…And the Critters
Along with being born a writer, I was also born with a particular connection to animals. And I didn’t know it until my twenties, but one of my strongest connections is with birds, strange as that is to me. At just about nineteen, I realized one of my important totems is the Owl. In my mid-twenties, I found myself offered the opportunity to apprentice with a falconer, and it was an amazing experience. At the same time, I also found myself suddenly expected to tend animals at a nature center where I then volunteered, overseen by a vet who helped guide me along the way. Quickly, my responsibilities became very in-depth and diversified. From cleaning and building enclosures to exercising, rehabbing and caring for all types of species, including: raccoons, iguanas, caiman, opossum, spiders, turtles, squirrels, snakes, servals, rabbits, bobcat, foxes, birds of prey as well as other birds like sparrows, pigeons and doves.
It was never a gift I asked for; it was simply a part of me. Again, like my writing. Today, I realize how much gratitude I have for this connection to the animals. It sounds cliché, but their gifts to me outweigh by far whatever care or love I may offer to them. Something of sacred, wordless communication takes place… Others who have experienced it can certainly understand, but the interaction itself is hard, at least for me, to explain in full. It is beautiful, it is authentic. It can be playful, it can be unbearably heartbreaking, it can be amazing. It is that full-spectrum kind of communication that immerses and nourishes and awes.