Issaqueena Ave, Clarksdale, MS
I’m a newish writer and an oldish writer. My newest accomplishments are getting published in Kveller, Lilith, Zeek, Psoriasis Advance, West Michigan Blues, Jewish Currents, BUST online and Jewish Women Archive. My oldest were getting published a few times in a couple of local journals including Voices (Dyer Ives Poetry Contest), and Display Magazine at Grand Rapids Junior College. I was well known in the creative writing department there, because the professor used one of my published stories for years as an example of a great story with a bad ending.
Writing and acting have always been passions of mine, but in 1990 I was invited to help form Last Minute Improv, and we really took off, performing all over west Michigan. I had a very busy life with three children, a husband, work, improv, and a mother with Alzheimer’s. Improv was so fulfilling for me that writing mostly faded into the background, except for occasional poems.
By 2005, I was no longer working in Jewish education, which I had done since 1978 (along with a few other jobs, book selling being my favorite as well as playing Midge on the children’s television show, Come On Over). I began to work in public schools in various capacities. In 2007 I created a program for the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum about getting a library card and presented it to over 2,000 Kindergarten and first graders. In 2009 I started teaching my Zip-Zap improv classes in after school programs, boys and girls clubs, a theatre day camp, a hospital, and at GRIOT, a teen program in Clarksdale, Mississippi (I am a passionate blues fan and I consider Clarksdale my second home). My favorite age is middle-schoolers, just as it was when I prepared kids for Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.
In 2011, I joined West Michigan Writer’s Workshop, currently known as River City Writers Group, which meets every week (with a lively discussion at the pub after). I brought in memoir pieces, essays and a few poems, and started working on them with their guidance. The idea of writing for teens struck me as something I should try, and I was especially inspired to write about my experience of having a terrible case of psoriasis as a teen. And so my character, Ruth Ann, was born. Gone Before Spring and the sequel, No Doubt in My Mind, are her story and are available in paperback and eBook through all retailers. The Plaid Scarf is my latest novel which was inspired by a vintage scarf I purchased in Selma, Alabama.
I'm told that I capture teenage voices well. Perhaps, it's because I never grew up.