My adventures with words began in my parents' kitchen. From her command post at the stove, my mother quoted poetry, reams of it from Shakespeare, Wordsworth, and Keats, while my father piped in with readings from Virgil, Longfellow, and "Casey at the Bat." During the same years I seriously studied ballet, finding childlike bliss in moving to music.
I began teaching writing as a graduate student at the University of Rochester where I earned M.A. and Ph. D. degrees in English literature and drama. Since then I have taught college courses in creative, critical, and other forms of writing, as well as the history, philosophy and criticism of dance and theater – most recently at the University of California, San Diego. But I discovered my own vocation as a writer when I began reviewing dance for the Washington Star in the nation's capital.
A long career as an arts journalist took root and blossomed when I was named that newspaper's dance critic at the height of the heralded dance boom. When the Star met the fate of so many afternoon dailies, I moved in 1983 with my artist husband and our young sons to San Diego for a position as the dance critic, arts reporter and later, theater critic at the San Diego Union-Tribune. For 25 years, I communicated almost daily with readers, producing more than 6,000 reviews, features, profiles and think pieces while collaborating on three college drama texts and writing a half-dozen books and many poems for young readers.
I discovered the ancient wisdom of Yoga as an overworked, overweight single mother struggling in her mid-fifties with multiple writing projects and near-crippling rheumatoid arthritis. My own practice and a year of intensive teacher training with Deep Yoga founders Bhava Ram and Laura Plumb, peerless yogis and artists themselves, introduced me to a literature and a philosophical tradition that validated intuitions I had yet to make conscious. The arts are interrelated and sacred. Words can be used to spread hatred or cultivate peace. Each of us possesses reserves of creative energy—and breath—largely untapped. Tuning into that energy through the time-tested wisdom of Yoga brings joy and contentment, while expanding empathy, awareness, and imagination.
Yoga slowly transformed my life and work, bringing blessings unimaginable just a few years before. I left the Union-Tribune at the end of 2007 to complete my long-researched novel Still Born and to continue exploring the connections between creativity and the key principles of Yoga. Still Born, inspired by long-ago research into the life and work of the English poet Elizabeth Thomas, interweaves the stories of two women, born three centuries apart, each determined to find her own voice. Just as I was. I continue to write reviews and articles for newspapers (the Union-Tribune, Los Angeles Times and North County Times) and corporate clients, as well as commissioned books. In both creative and journalistic contexts, I seek to make my work fluent and deep, yet accessible, light in spirit.
With my three sons grown and my health restored, I began to see how my writing (as well as my life!) had benefited from the meditative focus, the breath work, and stillness I had learned on the Yoga mat. Out of this understanding I formulated an approach to writing called The Saraswati Way. Employing this holistic method, I support others on their creative journeys. Hundreds of students and more than a dozen authors have been exposed to elements of The Saraswati Way before my method found its name. As a personal writing coach and editor and as a teacher of SWAY classes and retreats, I offer a method of getting beyond the chattering ego to access deeper creativity and discover a distinctive voice for each work.
I also became certified as a Yoga instructor through Laura and Bhava's Deep Yoga School of Healing Arts. I teach both group and private classes in a flowing Vinyasa style based on the Deep Yoga approach that views the physical practice as meditation in motion.
My personal writing projects now include a news-and-views blog, The Inward Eye, an international anthology Poems for Yogis, and a second novel, tentatively titled Sons and Seekers.