DEAR WONDERFUL YOU,
Interview with Contributor:
How did you become involved with contributing to Dear Wonderful You: Letters to Adopted & Fostered Youth?
I am a member of several adoptee-oriented Facebook groups and someone mentioned this [Dear Wonderful You] project in one of them. It sounded interesting, so I looked at the details on the AN-YA Project website and decided to give it a try. I’m not the best writer, but my adoption history is somewhat unusual and I thought my experiences might be helpful to a younger person in a similar situation.
Tell us about a memorable letter you have received. How did the letter impact your life?
One of the most memorable letters I received came from my bio sister when I was a teenager. We lived together until I was 16 months old, and then I met her again — briefly— when I was eight. I really didn't know anything about her. She told me about herself and the rest of my biological family. She showed me how to correctly spell her (and my!) last name. In her letter, I read for the first time the name of my birth father. That was pretty major information for me at a time when I was feeling especially lost.
When you reflect on who you were as a child—what three words would you use to describe your younger self?
Imaginative, angry, hurt
Imaginative, angry, hurt
Pick one: pencil, pen, sharpie, crayon—
Pencils— but only the mechanical kind. I always have a supply on hand!
If you were having a really bad day, what song would you listen to?
““Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M. It’s an awesome “cry-along” song, while reminding me that I’m not the only person who feels pain and experiences difficulties in life.
If you were having an amazing day, what song would you listen to?
There’s no one special song for amazing days. I have a vast collection of CD's, from Irish folk music, to indie/alt music, to Broadway, to bluegrass, to classical, to light opera – I always manage to find just the right one for whatever mood I’m in.
Pick one: morning, afternoon, evening, late night
Late night! If I could write my own schedule, I wouldn't go to bed until 3:00 or 4:00 AM and wouldn’t get up until 10:00 AM. I love the night. In the darkness, the world is a quieter, more peaceful place; and living out in the country means that the night skies are aglow with moonlight and aglitter with all the beautiful stars.
Name a literary character whose “character” you find admirable. Why?
I always wanted to be Beth from Little Women. She was kind, generous, quiet, spunky, and loyal. She was loved by all, and when she died everyone was heart-broken.
Pick one: blank piece of paper, lined piece of paper, piece of construction paper—
A blank piece of paper is intimidating and a piece of construction paper is too coarse and “unfinished”. I love lined paper. It invites you to fill it with your own thoughts and provides “structure” to help you do so. Whenever possible, I use college ruled paper which has narrower lines. Since my handwriting is on the small side. It allows me to put more words on the page.
Describe your perfect dessert.
A hand-packed pint of Baskin-Robbins strawberry cheesecake ice cream and a spoon. Yum.
Would you describe yourself as superstitious? Why or why not?
I like to think that I’m too smart and logical to believe in superstitions, but that doesn't stop me from occasionally —knocking on wood, avoiding ladders and, in a theater, always referring to 'the Scottish play'!
When you are writing, do you prefer silence or sound? Why?
I always have some kind of sound in the background. It actually helps me concentrate.
Pick one: Coffee, tea, water, soda—
Well, I don’t drink coffee, so that’s out. I don’t drink a lot of plain water but I do enjoy seltzer water with a hint of fruit flavor. You won’t find soda in my glass very often, but when you do, it’ll be A&W diet root beer. I guess my favorite would be fresh-brewed (decaffeinated) iced tea, with a spoonful of Sugar in the Raw®
What is the first thing you do when you get out of bed in the morning?
I groan. Yes. Really. I have to get up for work by 5:30 AM. I’m always MUCH too tired in the morning. After groaning... I let the dogs out, feed the cats, and then start getting myself ready for the day ahead.
Tell us about your life now. What are you working on? Do you have any projects recently released or in the works?
I’m a middle school teacher: math and special education. I've participated in the Destination Imagination program for almost 20 years.
I regularly volunteer at my local no-kill animal shelter as well with as a national program (www.siameserescue.org) that rescues and finds new homes for Siamese cats. I share my small acreage with various critters, and find joy in each and every one of them (except for the snakes and stink bugs).
Right now, I’m trying to get my blog (http://adoption-interrupted.blogspot.com/) up to date so that I can move past the memoir phase and start writing more about current adoption issues.
I've also created a “clearinghouse” webpage (http://www.adoptionactivism.org/) where individuals and groups can post information about ongoing activities in support of open access to adoptee birth records. It doesn't get much traffic yet, but I’m hoping it will eventually be a useful resource.
I continue to perform in local theater and the occasional (small) film role, but my somewhat remote location means those opportunities are few and far between. However, New York and Hollywood casting agents take note – I can travel!
Finally —I’m writing a children’s book (having nothing whatsoever to do with adoption) which I hope to publish later this year.