I'm working on an essay collection about the South. To read my story about a destination bar mitzvah in Selma, click here. To read my piece about a 1965 survey of Selma Jews on integration, click here. To read my take on black-Jewish relations and the 49th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, go here. And here's my piece from the Houston Chronicle online about books to read after you've seen the movie Selma.
I will talk to the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois about “Making the dead dance: how to breathe life into your ancestors,” on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015, at 2pm, at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook on Dundee. Here's a description: You’ve found the names, you’ve located the shtetl or city, gone through ship manifests and census records--but all they add up to are names and dates on paper or in a computer file. How do you take the bare bones of someone’s life and turn them into flesh and blood? In this workshop you will find out what strategies have worked for nonfiction writers who write about their ancestors. These writers have stuck to the facts, though they’ve allowed themselves a supposition or two. Feel free to bring information about one particular ancestor, especially photos, as well as your questions. This session will be informal, with plenty of chances to ask questions and time for a few short writing exercises. You’ll leave with ideas for more research and new strategies, and excitement about the possibilities.
In late October 2015 I will be on two panels at Nonfictionow in Flagstaff, Arizona: "You lived through it; do we have to read about it?" with Tom Larson, Elizabeth Kadetsky and Janice Gray; and "What does Theory Have to do With It?" with Sarah Heston and Julija Šukys. Apparently I will be taking about Marxism! Yes, it's true what you've heard about Marxist professors. Unfortunately, I'm not a tenured radical. Both panels are at 9 a.m., and I am encouraging people to wear pjs and other sleepwear to the "You lived through it" panel. I hope to have coffee.
In November 2014 I received a check from Judith Kitchen for my piece that will join 76 others in the anthology she and Dinah Lenney edited, Brief Encounters (W.W. Norton), forthcoming November 2015. The piece was published in Brevity and is part of the nonfiction manuscript mentioned above. Judith was a lyrical writer and a generous supporter of other writers. The day after I received the check, I heard that Judith had died. She had metastatic breast cancer and had thought she would have more time. Besides writing checks, Judith was cleaning closets up to the end. A tribute to Judith is here.
April 16-19, 2015 I was able to take part in the 7th annual Bet Debora conference of mostly-European Jewish feminists, this time in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, England. For the occasion I created Zen Cohens (a term I wish I had invented), a takeoff on Zen Koans. Mine were mostly paradoxes having to do with women and power and will be published in a Bet Debora anthology.
At the AWP conference in Minneapolis April 2015 I was part of a lovely panel, "Detours of Intention: Travel Writing, Privilege, and Perspective," with Tom Montgomery Fate (moderator) and Michele Morano, Tim Bascom, and Miles Harvey. But what I'm most proud of is that, with much help from Rick Robbins, I got AWP book fair participants to donate one toiletry/person from their hotel rooms. About five boxes of toiletries were sent to a local shelter.
My nonfiction piece, "Jew in the Body," was posted on Ars Medica last year. For my prose poem "Chemo/Lawn" accompanied by photos of (tiny) lawn furniture on my head, see Masque & Spectacle, posted March 1, 2015.
My story "Brunch" from the New Yorker was reprinted January 2015 in Life Is Short, Art is Shorter, ed. David Shields and Elizabeth Cooperman.