writing seemed like a fine thing to do



I always wanted to be a writer, just didn’t know what kind. From grade school I kept diaries, first those with shiny locks and small keys, moving on to Moleskine journals with rounded corners and sewn spines, modeled after handmade notebooks sold by French bookbinders in the 19th century. These came with ribbon bookmarks and a wide colored band---very sophisticated. I wrote in them daily, struggling to stay authentic and trying to comprehend what was going on around me. Majoring at college in English, which many women of my generation did, I became more fluid with expression, and by my mid-twenties had written everything from essays to features, newspaper articles, short stories, poetry, travel pieces, television scripts---the gamut. I finally found my niche writing about people, first with profile pieces and later biographical articles, essays and books. I love people’s life stories and am equally interested in hearing them from a long-haul driver at a truck stop, to an Ambassador at a state dinner. Their tales of joys and sorrows, first kisses and foolhardy exploits captivated me, and fueled my passion to write biography. Over the years I’ve written on F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Philip Evergood, pioneering women leaders in the museum field, benefactors Joseph Hirshhorn and Solomon Guggenheim, and numerous others. So now, if someone asks what kind of writer I am, it feels natural to reply---a biographer. Presently, I’m working on another kind of biography, the memoir---looking at my life and trying to make sense of it. Not for the faint-hearted, it requires no punches pulled, a boxing term, where to pull punches means to hit less hard than one can. That doesn’t fly here, and if you’re not willing to be brutally honest, no matter how stupid you look, this isn’t the genre for you. With memoir you’re all in; tell the truth and make it matter. The title of mine is Half-Baked, suggesting I was taken from the oven too soon, like a partially baked soufflé that falls flat in the middle. Aware of my shortcomings, I was determined to do something about them, but for the longest time, didn’t know how. And why, you might ask, would someone want to read my memoir? Maybe to understand the imperfectness of our time on Earth, acknowledge that we’re all flawed, make mistakes and wish we’d done better. How, as humans, that’s what we do. 

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