Zoe Klein: A Self Portrait
Zoe Klein Revealed
About Zoe Klein
What is your birthdate?:3/4
Previous occupations:Waitress (Newton Marriot, Friendly’s, Blue Bird Diner)
Favorite job:Creating transformative moments for people.
High school and/or college:Wooster High School in Danbury, CT/ Brandeis University/ Hebrew University in Jerusalem
Name of your favorite composer or music artist?:Nirvana, Led Zeppelin.
Favorite movie:Fight Club, Children of Men, Goodfellas.
Favorite television show:The Office, Big Love, True Blood, Project Runway, Malcolm in the Middle
- Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
- A. Tired of seeking transcendence, she now desires wholeness.
- Q. What is your motto or maxim?
- A. There is a thread of love which holds everything together.
- Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
- A. This is going to sound strange, but my husband is also a rabbi, and once we were both officiating graveside funerals of people who had lived long, wonderful lives. The funerals were at the same cemetery, at the same time. We didn’t have a babysitter so we brought our children. I was at the top of a hill leading prayers, and he was at the bottom of the hill leading different prayers. We couldn’t hear each other, but we could see each other. And our kids were between us, running around like they were in a park, hiding behind trees, and having a great time. The sun was shining, it was a gorgeous day, and I just had this awe-filled feeling about how many stars had to align to create this moment…people had to fall in love, people had to be born, people had to die, people had to be ordained, and for an instant everything made sense – life, death, love, God – and I was perfectly happy.
- Q. What’s your greatest fear?
- A. Forgetting and being forgotten.
- Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
- A. On a bicycle along a river, my husband and three kids riding alongside, with miles of gardens, swaying trees and grasses, and people picnicking, laughing, and playing Frisbee while we sail by, with blueberries and cherries in our baskets.
- Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
- A. I’ve always struggled with the biblical Esther, unsure if I really liked how she uses her guile and wiles to make change and save her people. She always seemed to be to be somewhat of an accidental hero. At the same time, I identify with her.
- Q. Which living person do you most admire?
- A. Shimon Peres. He is so optimistic about peace. When he speaks I imagine doves and butterflies flying through the air. I was in his house once on a delegation, and his words and the steady resonance of his voice made me want to weep, sing and pray. David Ben-Gurion once said, “In Israel, if you don’t believe in miracles, you are not a realist.” Under constant pressure and threat, Peres maintains a poetical but realistic soul I admire. To me, he just sparkles with love and hope.
- Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
- A. My husband says I describe everything as “Fluffy.”
- Q. What do you regret most?
- A. I regret the times when I could not express my true feelings.
- Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
- A. As great as it would be to be able to pick up one of my husband’s guitars and play something, I’ve always secretly wanted to be able to skateboard. You know, slide down banisters and stuff.
- Q. What is your greatest achievement?
- A. Modeling for my children that people can continually learn, grow and change
- Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
- A. Dwelling on the past.
- Q. What’s your best quality?
- A. Seeing beauty in flaws.
- Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
- A. I like being myself. Maybe I’d like to be Joan Baez for one performance at Woodstock, and then become an otter for a few weeks playing in the mud, then go back to being me again.
- Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
- A. Thoughtfulness.
- Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
- A. Dumbo.
- Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
- A. Captain James Hook.
- Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
- A. The prophet Jeremiah. I wouldn’t say anything, I’d just give him kisses.
- Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
- A. Loud coffee slurpers who say “ah” after every slurp. Oh, and also, people who have grand conversations while getting food in a buffet line, holding up all the hungry people.
- Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
- A. Teaching.
- Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
- A. Professional sk8er chick.
- Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
- A. Passion, Vision, Focus.
- Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
- A. Zucchini quiche with salsa. That or yummy cholent.
- Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
- A. Eric Clapton’s Let it Grow, the Beatles’ Across the Universe, the Stones’ Gimme Shelter, the Dead’s Sugar Magnolia, Paul Simon’s Late in the Evening.
On Books and Writing
- Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
- A. Potok’s My Name is Asher Lev, Steinberg’s As a Driven Leaf, Kundera’s The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, Englander’s For the Relief of Unbearable Urges, Sartre’s The Age of Reason.
- Q. Is there a book you love to reread?
- A. The Griffin and Sabine trilogy which are little art books written in postcards and letters.
- Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
- A. Write from your heart; edit from your mind.
- Q. What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
- A. You paint pictures with your words.
- Q. How did you come to write Drawing in the Dust?
- A. I have had this story in me for a long time. Long before I was ordained, married, or had children. I remember standing by my father’s drawing board and telling him for the first time the story I had in mind. The story has been richly layered over the years with insights from experience, but the core is the same that was always in me, like a recurring dream. It started with the character Anatiya, which developed over a couple of years while I was in Seminary and serving a congregation in
as an intern. Writing her was an experience I can’t explain, almost trance-like at times. Then I began crafting her discovery, and writing about Page Brookstone whose internal landscape ultimately became more intriguing to me than the external artifacts she uncovered. As she confronted things, I did privately as well, and in many ways Page and Mortichai became my guides leading me closer to wholeness even as I invented them. Connecticut