Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
A. A series of fresh starts
Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. Breathe deeply
Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. Those elusive moment of utter contentment that surprise me at various times. I might be out to dinner with good friends, look around and think this is happiness. Or with someone I love and have the same experience. Or outside in a wild place. In each case it's a recognition of that particular moment as happiness. It comes upon me; I don't seek it out.
Q. What’s your greatest fear?
A. This has changed so much over the years. I used to be afraid of failure. I was afraid of getting fat. Afraid of saying something stupid. Afraid of being such an introvert. Those things don't worry me at all any longer. It took some time to think of what I fear; I realize I'm afraid of pain. And I'm afraid of harm coming to someone I love. And I suppose those are the same things.
Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. Where I am.
Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
A. This could sound a little pompous, but Edith Wharton. Not for her work (which I admire but do not identify with) but for her life, which was a huge inspiration to me.
Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. My friend, the short story writer Leslie Johnson. Warm, honest, funny, with more social grace in her little finger than I have in my whole self.
Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. just, so and such.
Q. What do you regret most?
Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. I'd like to be fluent in more languages.
Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. When my husband was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia, I realized that I would have to access my highest self to be able to care for him properly. And I did. Not that there weren't slips and frustrations, but I loved hving to reach alwasy for more patience, more understanding, more strength and more humor during those years.
Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
A. I play way too much online Scrabble.
Q. What’s your best quality?
A. Well, what I like best about myself is that pretty much everything is interesting to me and most of what's interesting is also very funny.
Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A. An owl. I'd love to be a bird but with eyes in front, so that would have to be an owl. I already know how to make the calls, so I'd be ahead of the game if this ever came to pass.
Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. My height. I'm five eleven, and it's funny because I never feel tall, but whenever I see photos of myself I think, wow, I'm tall. People must notice that about me.
Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A. I'd like to meet my grandfather, who my mother described as the Devil incarnate. Shortly after bringing her to America from Holland, he abandoned my grandmother and four small daughters to start a new family with her sister. I'd like to meet him not as a grand daughter but as a peer. I'd like to know what made him tick. There had to be something redeeming in the man for my grandmother to love him until the day she died
Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
A. One-upsmanship. The trouble is that I'm usually unaware when it's started, so at first I think I need to reach for a one-up of my own. I never have one ready and luckily I can then see how ridiculous the whole thing is.
Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A. Photography. I'm just learning how to do this. I went on a photo expedition to Alaska to get close to grizzly bears. In a few weeks I plan to get close to polar bears.
Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
A. Being a fiction writer.
Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A. Kindness, intelligence and a sense of humor.
Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. Bye, Bye Miss American Pie