Author of the PEN/Faulkner Award-winning novel The Bear Comes Home, and the memoir I, Wabenzi.
As a writing coach, I work collaboratively In regard to your work. If I know what needs doing, I’ll get on your frequency and help you do it. If I don’t know what needs doing, I’ll tell you so, and that’s that. I have a real love of bringing good work forth. I love to see it happen, and I’ve helped writers get through that process to where they wanted to be.
How did it get to be this way? It’s a reasonable question.
I was born and raised in Brooklyn and I’m living there now, though in the years between I lived around this country and also abroad—England, France, Turkey, Israel—partly in search of the experience, and a more capacious point of view, that might give me something more interesting to write about. I went to Brooklyn College and graduated with a B.A. in English. There I took a couple of writing classes that gave me a lot to work with in the succeeding years, but I decided, a bit romantically perhaps, to go to school in the world rather than in an MFA program—they were thinner on the ground than they are now. So I got out there, lived adventurously, got into trouble and out of it, and experienced a larger world than I would have, had I stayed home. Times and possibilities are different now, and university writing programs are better organized and more diverse than they used to be, with a lot of good writers teaching in them; and it’s not only “Writing Program fiction” that comes out of them, either. But I think it’s your life-experience outside the classroom and inside yourself that will provide the key and substance to what you can usefully bring out from yourself and into the world.