I was born and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. From an early age, I loved to read and make up stories. I would write, cast, and direct my friends in plays. I
loved to stay home from school sick, because it gave me an excuse to sit in bed all day and write long, elaborate, overly detailed stories about girls at boarding school. The writing impulse went "underground" in college and didn't resurface seriously until 1992, when I began to work on the earliest stories in The View from Below. These stories were triggered by first lines, images, and dreams. I had been working, with both pleasure and frustration, in various publishing jobs in New York City and decided to go to graduate school- not so much out of a desire to "learn to write" as out of a need for times, structure, and the permission to take some chances and make some false starts. I have been writing seriously since.
I suppose the threads of my book come from three autobiographical balls of yarn: childhood preoccupations, landscape, and grief. Like most writers, I have always written as a way to tell my side of the story, to narrate events with a perspective that, as a child, I knew wasn't in sync with what the grown-ups saw. Since childhood, I have been drawn to landscape, and "place" plays a large role in my work. While revising these stories I realized how much a factor weather is. Each story features either rain, snow, freezing cold, or sultry heat. And, since I am a native Californian, there are three earthquakes.
Grief deserves its own paragraph. The grief from my brother's death was an emotional force behind the making of many of these stories, just as it remade me. In terms of subject matter, yes, but also in a way much deeper than plot, these stories were formed from the experience of grieving
and of coming back to life.