Writing

In 1994, just before heading to a summer-long fellowship at the Dow Creativity Center, I discovered Joseph Campbell via the Bill Moyer's documentary, The Power of Myth.

After understanding the importance of myths, I found a purpose for and a real source of pleasure in my writing.

I have won several writing awards, including the Nelson Algren and Writer's Digest.  I've also received a Creative Writing Fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and from The Pittsburgh Foundation.  Residencies have been awarded from the Ucross Foundation, Yaddo, Hedgebrook, Ragdale, Millay and Dorland.




 Teaching


For  over twenty years, I have enjoyed sharing creative experiences with adults and  children across the country.  I have taught:

  • Creative Writing (fiction, memoir, essay and poetry) 
  • Paper sculpture
  • Textile arts, from doll making to quilting.quilting  
  • The Visual Journal, an experience that is both relaxing and  richly insightful​​

From 2004 to 2010, I founded and developed the  creative writing program at the Allegheny County Jail now known as Words Without Walls.  In thoughtful and engaging classes, students learned to write poetry, fiction, essay and memoir.  One student's haiku was published in the Wall Street Journal.  Two won PEN Prison Writing competitions. I also edited and  published three illustrated, 100 page anthologies.

  
Photo-Journalism

The first work I recall publishing was poem titled "Tanganika" in the mimeographed, Crescent Elementary School class newspaper.

My publishing career began with Talk Magazine, The New Pittsburgh Courier.  My writing was accompanied by my photography in The Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Pittsburgh Press and Pittsburgh Magazine.  
In 1986, I founded Shooting Star Productions, producing two major writers conferences an illustrated, literary quarterly that was published for ten years. Primary and vital support came from the Pennsylvania Council on The Arts and The Pittsburgh Foundation. Many marvelous volunteers made publication both possible and a joy.  

Shooting Star Review is now archived in several libraries.  The University of Pittsburgh is digitalizing the journal so that it can soon be viewed online. 
  
Education


My education began at Pittsburgh's Beltzhoover and Crescent  Elementary  Schools followed by Westinghouse High School where I graduated seventh in a class of 365.  My focus was on business skills – shorthand, bookkeeping and typing, fingers flying at 80 words per minute.  While in high school, I worked as a café cashier and ran an in-school bookstore.  I also had the great role of grieving widow in the senior class play, Ayn Rand’s The Night of January 16th

My Bachelor of Arts degree is in Media Communications with additional studies in economics, psychology and anthropology.  While attending the University of Pittsburgh's College of General Studies (night school), I worked in advertising, as well as for international airline and a lawyer.

While earning my Masters Degree in Creating Writing, I raised two daughters while working for the last mill to make steel in Pittsburgh.  I studied Creative Non Fiction with Lee Gutkind and received a degree in Photography-Multi Media from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.