I always wanted to be a writer.
First it was reading. I adored looking at picture books, even before I could walk or talk. The children's room in the neighborhood library in my home town of Providence, Rhode Island, was a wondrous place for me. When I learned to read the wiggly black marks in colorful picture books, it was a revelation. I began to read all the time--especially children's biographies of girls who became famous.
I began writing as a schoolgirl, almost always about what had really happened rather than what I imagined happening. In high school I began keeping a writer's notebook in a creative writing class. It led in college to beginning a personal journal, which has continued more or less until now, when it has again become mostly a writer's notebook.
My first job after college was working for The Providence Journal, where I got my first professional bylines for writing feature stories. After moving to New York City, I worked for Newsweek magazine before writing my first book, a biography of the iconic American painter, Georgia O'Keeffe.
After buying a house in a village in New England, and writing another biography, this time about sculptor Louise Nevelson, I began to write books drawing on my own experiences--like passing up motherhood, passionately tending a flower garden, and going to a traditional girls' boarding school in Connecticut.
Now, drawing extensively on my many journals, I am working on a memoir about wanting to be a writer, becoming a writer, and being a writer, Word for Word: A Writer's Memoir. Writing it has been an extraordinary inner journey--full of memories, discoveries, and insights--which has enriched my understanding of the past and the present.
Besides writing nonfiction books, I teach, lecture, and publish essays, book reviews, and articles in newspapers, literary journals, magazines, and anthologies, such as Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction, The Journal of the Southwest, and From the Faraway Nearby: Georgia O'Keeffe as Icon. Book reviews have recently been published in Women's Studies and Woman's Art Journal.
I am a member of a long-standing academic seminar for biographers and memoirists, Women Writing Women's Lives, which meets monthly in New York City. Awarded fellowships at writers' colonies, including the MacDowell Colony, I have received recognition by inclusion in Who's Who in America.
I live with my husband, painter and printmaker Robert Kipniss, in Westchester County in the suburbs of New York City, and in Litchfield County in the hills of northwestern Connecticut.