I am about to publish my third book, “The Sex Life of the Everyday Woman.” I wrote it 12-years ago but it was shelved along with “12 Days in Manipur,” (a novel), and a memoir, “Undressing the Well-clothed Bear.” Life takes us along in her waves and while the good thing she does is to throw characters and conflicts our way, the resolution takes time: Both in life and in novels.
In the middle of 2004 I lost my job at the Lenox Hill Women’s Shelter at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City. I wrote “Incidents from A Shelter: The Season of the Larva,” in 1999 based on the clients there, but it wasn’t published until 2002. Not working outside the home was wonderful at first. It gave me time to write and at that time the India book, “12 Days in Manipur,” was born under the title of India Burning. The tough side was struggling for money. I had little money, no family support (I mean none!), and felt my stability slipping away through a straw to the uncontrollable side of life. It really was one day at a time. Finding a job as a per diem for a supportive housing situation on Stanton Street where I earned $10 per hour; I would calculate and add up what I would pay for that week. Electric? Phone? I needed both to find work. I had to go to the City for rent payments-they paid the landlord not me. I found a part time job for a not-for-profit public relations company and pooled the money together. I then found an administrative job at the Henry Street Settlement where the director who would say, “She was good with the lord,” and told a co worker, “What do you have to be angry about, you white and you have hair,” startled me when she let me go after working for her for 4 months. I kept going, clearly there was no room to stop looking for work but I thought about writing. I saw the stories all around me. Fruit stands, bus stops, old lovers, new ones who weren’t there when I needed them and family that turned away and pretended my situation did not exist. It’s all about the story…in life we get small resolves…in novels a resolution is a must.
No this is not a feel sorry piece-but a feel wonderful and proud expose that I hear and see as the accomplishments come along for me. Today, I live in a house my husband built for us in Arizona, (I got married again), enough money to live off, and freedom to write and not have to go out into the workforce every day.
So today I share some pictures of the place I am now. It’s good. And yes, here comes the third book. ..and a book signing at the Tucson Festival of Books on March 15th at the University of Arizona. Also, I don’t want to leave out this column on the Examiner…in fact, I have two of them…life is good.