“In the 1970s I bought an antique desk. When I got it home, I found one single piece of paper way back in one of the drawers. I don’t know who wrote it but I have saved it all these years. I think you’ll see why. Enjoy!”
I was born in St. Francis Hospital (which I believe was most auspicious) in Lynwood, California. It’s part of the L.A. Basin (sounds like the name of an extremely large sink). I was raised in Southern California except for one magical year in Myrtle Creek, Oregon where I freely roamed the hills and creeks of Aunt Tootsie and Uncle Earl’s 500-acre sheep ranch. It was there I developed an unbreakable bond with Nature.
When my family moved back, we lived next door to my Aunt Jean and Uncle George in the hills of La Habra Heights above Los Angeles and across from a huge avocado orchard. Another magical year.
Then my parents bought a tract-house in Anaheim and downhill we went to the flatlands. The good part was getting to attend Walt Disney Elementary School from 2nd grade to 6th grade. And going to Disneyland 100 times (or more) like it was our own private park.
As a teen, I spent my days along the equally magical Pacific Ocean and came of age during the mind-altering Sixties. There was a plethora of sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll and I had plenty of two of them. I also began a lifelong journey of soul-searching, writing, and nurturing many mystical experiences along the way.
My ancestors arrived in America in 1700, probably against their will as indentured servants and other ne’er-do-wells, and fought in the American Revolution. From the colonies, they went south and west where they fought in the Civil War. The migration continued for the next 250 years from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Alabama, to Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Last stop, California—where my mother was born and then me.
Throughout all those years, the men continued to fight, sometimes reluctantly, in every single war the U.S. engaged in. My people worked hard, lived hard, and most of them died hard. They were ranchers, farmers, wood splitters, shop owners, blacksmiths, preachers, herbal “doctors,” horse traders, tool-and-die cutters, artists, and rural folk in general, with a couple businessmen and bootleggers thrown in for good measure.
After leaving home at 18, I spent 30 years (much of it with my ex-husband) moving and/or traveling extensively throughout the United States, Mexico, and Canada; and in Turkey, Greece, France, England, and Italy. I lived in the redwoods of Humboldt County and the wine country of Sonoma County in Northern California; in San Francisco; in the Mt. Baldy Zen Center Monastery in Southern California; in West L.A., Santa Monica, and Venice Beach; in London, England; Florence, Italy; New York City; in the Sonora Desert of Tucson; on Mt. Desert Island in Maine; and in Austin, Texas.
Jobs over the past decades included filing and answering the switchboard at a Seventh-Day Adventist medical clinic; cleaning a meat plant (being vegetarian at the time made it even more memorable); caretaker of Walter Shelton, an old, incapacitated curmudgeon who lusted after soap opera stars and wanted to be shot in the back by a jealous husband at age 90; census taker; computer operator; medical billing clerk; carpenter; hospital laboratory receptionist, among other things; full-charge bookkeeper; waitress in a downtown Tucson diner frequented by pensioners and Tohono O’odham Native Americans from the nearby reservation; office manager for an architectural firm; newspaper journalist; traffic manager for a privately owned TV station; personal assistant to internationally known graphic designer; model & muse for a well-known photographer; real estate broker; and entrepreneur.
I started writing stories when I was six or seven years old. At 14, after the grievous shock of my parents’ divorce, I turned to poetry exclusively and wrote nothing but that for the next 20 years. Afterwards I branched out into short stories, plays, essays, screenplays, and novels. Long before I got a college degree, my poetry, short stories, essays, and play won awards and were produced and published in various newspapers, magazines, and literary journals in the U.S. and Canada. I now have three books out and recently completed a fiction novel based on my mother's side of the family going back six generations and the cycle of abuse of mother to duaghter, titled The Last Daughter.
When I was 40, I obtained a B.A. in English (Art History minor) through Independent Study by writing a full-length screenplay and a collection of short stories. I graduated cum laude from Sonoma State University in Northern California. I also was the first one in my entire family on either side to get a college education. My mother was so proud.
Most recently, I completed a novel, PHILEMON STEED: THE SOUND OF BLOOD, a bilingual mystery love story that incorporates poetry from my series, “Along the Gulf,” as a chorus of sorts. An excerpt from the novel won the PEN Texas Award for Fiction.
Seeking an agent/publisher and/or independent filmmaker/producer (a perfect match for Clint Eastwood, should you happen to know him).
Currently, I am back at work on my children’s book, BB BRIOCHE FROM B.C., about a brioche who travels to 36 states and countries around the world and meets 36 different kinds of breads (e.g. Cornbread, Pita, and Crumpet), with the realization: “We Are One.”
Also developed a three-dimensional doll of BB Brioche and seeking an agent/publisher and/or collaborator to take her into animation.
Other projects simmering on the back burner include a compilation of my poems written over the past years.
My PBGV dog, Buster, and I reside in the Texas Hill Country.