I spent my early years in Nyon, Switzerland, and then Bray, Ireland, before moving to the States when I was 20. While education never appealed to me during my years in the restrictive Irish school system, I found solace in learning as a non-traditional student, first at a community college, later at a hippie-inspired, student-centered and grade-averse college in the Pacific Northwest. I spent two years as a journalist at a weekly newspaper, then returned to school for my MA in English, an accomplishment that led to a surprising and wonderful offer to teach at a community college. I have been at that college since 1991, one of the lucky few in this world to have found a job I love.
I don’t like trying to encapsulate myself in a few words, but here goes anyway.
- I’ve loved horses since I was three and I first saw one in Central Park. My mother recalled my reaction to them at that time, a yearning that haunted me for years. I pony-clubbed in Ireland, earning pony-money by babysitting. For more than a decade over here I had my own horse, only in the last year losing him because of divorce, finances and health. I miss him.
- In 1999 my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Five weeks later, so was I. She died. I am alive. I owe her my life, and I wish to live with the same grace and courage with which she lived before her diagnosis and afterwards, till the moment of her death.
- When my mother was dying, I saw something that confirmed what I have always known, that life is wonderful and mysterious and beautiful, and beyond our ability to fathom in any rational way. A dream, a bird, and the light in my mother’s head recreated for me what I first knew as a 10-year-old in Ireland–that God/Allah/Vishnu/the Absolute, whatever label you want to put on the mystery–is real.
- I am Catholic with an interest in Buddhism.
- My father is an atheist physicist who loves neutrinos. What he loves about neutrinos is their mystery.
- I have a teenage daughter who lives with me. She’s an actor, the queen of drama, and a joy.
- I am a pacifist, a vegetarian who recently began to eat fish occasionally for health reasons after 23 years with no meat or fish.
- I have battled depression. Sometimes I am depressed. Sometimes I write about it.