The right word can change everything. So can the wrong one.

My Journey
I had a brilliant introduction to editorial work as an undergraduate at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. This was not a part of the curriculum but a brief tutorial by Ian Robertson, the director of public information for the college. I worked for him as a scholarship student, and one day he sat me down and had me watch as he edited some copy I had written for a brochure. He didn’t change the sense or the facts, but he made all the difference in the organization, tightness, and clarity of the prose. I got it. That one session changed my own writing and began a lifelong process of honing and perfecting that is the essence of editing.

This was the late 1960s, a different world. After graduation, I moved to Canada for a while and walked right into the first job I applied for. I was assistant editor on Canadian Architect magazine for two years, and then moved on to a position as a textbook editor at Longman, Canada. I moved back to the U.S. but stayed in textbook publishing for another seven years at three other companies. Still working primarily with textbook manuscripts, I ventured into self-employment as a freelancer. Gradually, I branched out, taking on clients in a variety of fields. I worked for the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, for two corporations on articles for company magazines, for professors at both Carnegie-Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh, and for individuals wanting help on anything from newsletters to novels.

Eventually I went to work full time for the Learning Research and Development Center at Pitt, where I stayed from 1989 until 1997. Most of my work there was to write about scientific research for non-research audiences, including Capitol Hill staffers, classroom teachers, and foundations. I edited and coordinated proposals that brought in millions of dollars for the center, and I developed a set of writings and videos for a joint project between the Center and a New York City school district.
Then I retired. Except I didn’t. I moved to Vermont and promptly went to work as a freelancer for the Commissioner of Education. I took on more freelance work with one of the partners in the joint project I’d worked on at LRDC. And I began working seriously on both a
memoir and a novel.

Since then I have lived eight years in Oregon and have recently moved to North Carolina, where I mean to stay, at last.

I still work seriously on writing essays and fiction, and I also continue to take on freelance work. I balance the two according to my needs and my clients’needs, and I enjoy different rewards from serving them both.
The Book I Need
As you will see elsewhere on this site, I have published one novel and two books of nonfiction, all available for purchase with a click on a button. What you will not see except on this page is that I followed my published novel with two others that never found a home. I was told they were “too quiet,” which was true—I do tend to write searching rather than sizzling books—and also a function of the changing world of publishing and the faltering U.S. economy. I was discouraged and depressed. I didn’t know what to do next, given that my nature seeks frequent solitude, explores certain depths, and writes.

What could I write about now? Given my unchangeable core, how could I write a word except, perhaps, to satisfy my private need?

Answers come without notice or announcement. Sometimes they rise up like an ocean and sweep away all expectations and assumptions. Several months ago, this happened in my quiet life and sent me fleeing west-to-east, where now I have a different life altogether. This one is busier, richer in cultural events and other opportunities, and peopled both with family and with old and new friends. It is far less quiet than my former life, which anyway drowned in loud noise. I still hear the sound of its ending, harsh as the tearing of metal, and perhaps I value silence all the more for that. I meditate. I practice yoga. I read a lot.

And I write. But though my nature has not changed, my writing is moving into new territory, taking on new shapes and colors. I have learned that even a quiet person is not always quiet in the deepest places of her heart and soul, and now, against all my earlier impulses, I seek the down-deep noise of recent events and keep listening as I write.

In this way, a new novel is starting to take shape. It isn’t all thunder and lightning and torrents, it’s just different. It’s the book I need. Should it ever make its way into the large, loud world out there, perhaps its purpose will be to
bring quiet, not be quiet.

Check out my available books now.