I’m pretty boring, actually, but I’ve done one or two interesting things in my life. The most wonderful thing I ever did was give birth to my two daughters, Anni and Robin. This is a picture of me at Robin’s wedding in June 2012. I don’t generally look this good :-)
(aka Emma Craig, Rachel Wilson, Anne Robins and Jon Sharpe [twice])
In an effort to avoid what I knew I should be doing with my life (writing -- it sounded so hard), for several years I expressed my creative side by dancing and singing. I belonged to two professional international folk-dance groups. Dancing made for a lousy living, but it was certainly fun. I also sang in a Balkan women's choir. I got to sing the tenor drone, for the most part. My first book, ONE BRIGHT MORNING, was published by HarperMonogram in 1995. What's more, it won the HOLT Medallion for Best First Novel. It was a good start, but my career has been . . . rocky, is the best word for it, I guess. Publishing's a brutal business, but I've got more persistence than brains so the publishing gods haven't killed me yet, although they seem to be trying awfully darned hard, curse them.
Here, looking like refugees from a bad Macedonian drag show (Steph's line) are, left to right: Barbara Nemiroff, Stephanie Cowans and me. Barbara's costume is from Bitola, Steph's is from Marejevo, and I'm in a costume from Skopje. Steph told me that (I can never remember the names of the villages).
No, it's not Sister Bertrille. It's me in a costume from Pag, an island off the coast of Croatia.
An old dancing buddy, Art Aratin, has recently put some clips from Avaz/Zena shows on YouTube. Here are some links to some of the songs we sang: Click here to hear some songs from Posavina. I have a tenor voice, so it’s less embarrassing for me to sing with a choir or something than, say, in a church congregation. If you know what I mean. The woman in the middle, Stephanie Cowans, has the most beautiful voice I’ve ever heard.
Click here to hear a song from a Macedonian area of Bulgaria (I know. Weird, huh?). Those songs was generally followed by this bridal dance from Macedonia. Click here to see it. Kinda glum for a wedding, but I guess they were more practical than romantic.
The latter song was way fun to sing, because we really got to belt it out. I think the reason I loved singing in this chorus so much was that I finally found my place in the singing world! Unfortunately, it turned out to be on a mountain in Bulgaria where the women sang to each other from crag to crag as they tended sheep. Hey, we aren't all the same. Next life, I wanna come back as a soprano. Not only do people not stare at them oddly, but they generally get the melody.
In September of 1996 my herd of wild dachshunds and I moved from Pasadena, CA, to Roswell, NM, where my mother's family settled fifty years before the aliens crashed. Roswell is kind of in the middle of nowhere, but it does have its advantages: no smog, no crowds, no money -- but I had no money in California, too, and you don't need so much of it here.
And here are a whole bunch of us who danced with a group called Gypsy. I'm the short one on the right end. I think these were our generic Hungarian costumes. Unless they were our generic Romanian costumes. Sheesh. Can't remember anything anymore!
P.O. Box 4316
Roswell, NM 88202-4316