Let’s see: I was an English major in college, which was actually a good thing! I have a lifelong love affair with books and a book as an object, not a digital ball of light or touch-screen smooth and swiped, or a website (though I do website design and ePub books that are editorially and content oriented and, I hope, beautiful).
I design books with pages that you turn in your hand, as opposed to a click of mouse; letterpress is the artform I most love–I often collaborate with an artist and select a poem and create a broadside (Galway Kinnel, Hayden Carruth, Jean Valentine, etc.) that I then sell to raise money for the Brattleboro Literary Festival, or in Hayden’s case, the ailing poet himself. I am a volunteer for this wonderful organization.
As far as being a writer, I write poetry when inspired, but don’t we all? I do have two published books, Living With Crohn’s & Colitis: A Comprehensive Naturopathic Guide for Complete Digestive Wellness, and just this past October, a cookbook entitled Cooking Well: IBS, Over 100 Easy Recipes for Irritable Bowel Syndrome Plus Other Digestive Diseases Including Crohn’s, Celiac, and Colitis.
I’m working on a collection of short fiction, and my dream is to write a longer novel someday. My day job is that if a book designer and literary agent. I love representing writers, and I am so lucky to have a fantastic group that came to my agency through serendipitous ways. A few of them are already published, in what is a growing genre of medical narrative, including Dr. Kimberly Allison (Red Sunshine), Kasey Mathews (Preemie: Lessons in Love, Life, and Motherhoodhttp://www.kaseymathews.com/), and the forthcoming David’s Inferno by David Blistein with a Foreword by Ken Burns. I have four more writers in the agency right now, and they are patient, talented, and I share their enthusiasm about publishing a book—someday!
It is a great feeling when the package arrives, and you wonder what could this be in a package from Kansas (seriously, that is what I thought!), or maybe it was Arksansas, but Kansas sounds better, having come of age with Dorothy and the rest of the yellow-brick-road-trio.
For the Crohn’s book, I was in my office in Brattleboro where I sat down and tore open the cardboard box—a small stack of books, wrapped in protective plastic, and I pulled the five of them out (a Caesarean section/giving birth comes to my mind!), and I sat on the floor surrounded by the detritus of packaging and I could not believe my good fortune—to be a writer!
Nowadays, I sometimes get emails from people who say the book helped them, or they find me through our book’s website (my co-author is a naturopathic doctor in Portland), and I drop everything and write them back and that’s really why I write: to communicate, connect, and hopefully, to help people who may not have an outlet. They may be sick, and want to read another’s story of struggle as a way to identify with them through a shared bond that involves reading words! Whether the words be prose, poetry or medical narrative (in the patient-perspective “gray boxes” in my book), or read on a Kindle, or an iPad, or a good old book: words are words, and as the poet Robert Frost wrote, “poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.”
You can not travel within and stand still. Indeed “The thought has found words . . .”. I look forward to the possibility of collaborating on a literary peace with you and your remarkable book design talent on at least one or more of my books? Naima