I have been writing stories since I was six years old, when my dad brought home two spiral bound notebooks from the University of New Hampshire, where he had spent several weeks at a summer writers conference. As an only child in a family where writing and books were a major part of the landscape, I filled those notebooks and many others with diaries, observations, and sequels to my favorite books, the ones I didn’t want to end. My family landscape also included stories that were never written down but that shaped my understanding of my place in the world. They included tales of my grandparents, who left the shtetls of the Old World to come to America—the “golden land”—at the turn of the 20th century, along with the reminiscences of my parents, who joined the struggle for social justice as part of the Popular Front in the 1930s. Growing up in the “silent” 1950s and activist 1960s, I learned first-hand about the cost of silence and the power that could come from raising one’s voice with others.
I have spent most of my adult life as a teacher. Over the years, I taught privileged students in a suburban high school in Massachusetts, first generation college students in a small Nebraska state college, and university students in Michigan and Maine, where I mentored interns in a graduate teacher education program and introduced the first women’s studies courses to non-traditional students in a city that had once been home to textile mills and shoe factories. Over the years, I have advocated for the LGBTQ community, worked to make high school and college programs and curricula more inclusive of diverse communities, and campaigned for progressive local and national candidates and ballot initiatives in Maine and in my current home state of Colorado, where my husband Norm and I relocated in 2013 to be near some of our children and grandchildren.
During my two decades in Maine, I sang with Women in Harmony, a 60-voice women’s chorus based in Portland. Singing with WIH introduced me to the world of feminist choruses and to their umbrella organization, Sister Singers, as well as to GALA, the Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses, North America’s premier LGBT choral organization. The GALA vision of “a world where all voices are free” is also the vision that inspired my most recent book, Strong Voices: The Story of the Women’s Chorus Movement, which tells the story of how a coalition of singers that began as a mostly separatist musical home for the lesbian community grew into an inclusive network welcoming women of all sexual and gender orientations and singing for social justice in the wider world. You can learn more about Strong Voices, we well as my other books, by following the links on my home page.
Since moving to Colorado, I have become an active member of the Fort Collins community, where I serve on the Executive Board of the Larimer County Democratic Party, and sing with the Silvertones, a 150-voice senior chorus presenting three performances each year. And I love sharing life with my Colorado family, from volunteering at my granddaughters’ elementary school, to camping trips to Rocky Mountain National Park with my Michigan family, to an annual “Exploring Colorado” road trip with my husband Norm. I invite you to follow the other links on this website and learn more about the people and projects that fill my world and bring me joy.