Photo by Carla Kessler
In 1987, I completed my M.A. in Fiction Writing from Syracuse University. Douglas Ungar advised my thesis. In 1997, my dissertation, When The Voice Must Be The Body: Feminism and Radio Drama, advised by Una Chaudhuri, received the Cynthia Jean Cohen Bull Award for Academic Excellence from N.Y.U’s Performance Studies department, and I began an academic career. Now retired after 32 years, I’ve returned full time to my first love – fiction writing.
I’m currently working on a two-part magical realist family epic based on my genealogical research into the black sheep branch of my family tree. Family rumors suggest infamy. My genealogical research tells a far more subtle tale of the circumstances of my paternal grandfather’s family’s immigration. The Double Souled Son is my attempt to imagine a husband and wife already marginalized in their remote rural village in occupied Poland coming first to a mining town in Pennsylvania, then to Buffalo, and finally to Cleveland, where they acquired a home. Emigrating in the early 1880’s, they no doubt followed the dual-faith belief system rural Poles would have practiced during this time: though devout Christians, they maintained their pagan beliefs. Everyday life was informed by Christian principles as well as an elemental awareness of the natural world. Ancestors’ spirits lived in the woods and behind the stove, accompanied by a host of other well-known Slavic demons and angels. Thus, the magical was reality to them. My great-grandparents may have believed that souls reincarnated within families and that their most feared demons could be born in human form. Therein lies the inspiration for my magically mad fictional great-grandfather. The late nineteenth century incarnation of the Górzyński family curse, he’s born with two souls.
I currently live in Buffalo, New York, with my husband Phil and our two Maine Coons, Francesca and Gus.