When I was seven or eight years old, I won my first writing contest. It was a short essay about my fatherâs love of the American flag (the required topic). Writing was always at the top of the list of things I wanted to do. I saw myself as a female Jewish Eugene OâNeill. Ah, the naÃ¯vetÃ© of childhood. Many years later when my sister and I found the play Iâd written at maybe age 10 about our family, we laughed and were surprised at how well Iâd presented us.
When all goes well and I can make the time I need in order to write regularly, I am the happiest and most enthusiastic of human beings. When life intervenes and I am unable to have the ongoing process I love, admittedly, I can become unbearable. I am so fortunate to have a husband who tries his best to provide that atmosphere for me. Well, he has to live with me, right?
Creating another world that comes to life line by line and page by page is the most joyous experience. Sometimes I find myself so caught up with my own characters that I drive past my exit on the highway or donât answer questions that people are posing to me directly. Iâm off in Turkey or Russia or even just next door, but I have suddenly resolved how a character arrived at some important moment.
The constant pleasure of learning new things also comes from writing and the research I must do to make it all accurate. Because my father was a Russian refugee and literally escaped under the hay in a cart with a horse, the topic of cultures merging and conflicting is of the utmost interest to me. Subtleties of differences and similarities and the complexities they raise exist in all of my writing.
The following topics have been prominent for me:
- The struggle of the immigrant or refugee in a new culture.
- The struggle of women in a male-dominated society.
- The difficulties religion, culture and politics play in all sorts of relationships.
- The complexities and challenges of the human condition and what it means to be human.
Please come back every so often to see what Iâm working on currently, where I will be having events, and what is new in my writing world. I have just about completed a family memoir and I am working on a prequel to What Survives called Fatma, Daughter of the Prophet. There is also a collection of short stories waiting in the wings. One of these was published in bosque, the magazine in 2013. I was their Discovery of the Year for Life After, a tale of illegal abortion.
And if you are curious to know why I write about Turkey, please look at my photos and read what I have written there.