In second grade, I proudly wrote my very first poem; it celebrated New York City where I lived: “I love the city/ It is so pretty.”
My desire back then was to grow up to become a writer of all genres: poet, playwright, short story writer, and novelist. As a young teen, I wrote plays and fiction about happy families – the opposite of my own — as well as short “novels” about imaginary cities and the imaginary people who lived in them.
Entering my 20s, my first publications in literary journals were poems, although I soon realized that my greatest passion is telling stories. Leaving poetry behind, except as a passionate reader, I began focusing on writing short fiction.
Eventually, I tried my hand at novels and discovered that I also loved writing longer works of fiction. I love how expansive I feel creating a world and characters and giving them lots of time and room to evolve.
Recently, I’ve added the personal essay to the genres in which I love working. I’ve grown very comfortable writing the bare bones “truth” of my thoughts, feelings, and life.
Of course, I’ve never stopped writing fiction and publishing short fiction and novels. Among my novels, The War of the Rosens is my most autobiographical novel, and The Last Jewish Virgin, in which I lark about with contemporary ideas about visual art, myth, fashion, feminism, and faith, is my most playful.
I began to write – and still write — for many reasons, including my yearning as a child to communicate with a world wider than my “real life” world, a small apartment in a Bronx housing project where I lived with my unhappy, volatile family.
I wrote – and still write – to engage in an ongoing dialogue with other readers and writers, as well as to bear witness to the sorrows and joys that I, and so many others, have experienced.
I wrote – and still write – to contribute in any way I can towards making the world fair and just.
I often write at home in solitude on my desktop computer. I’ve never taken to working on a laptop; the small screen and keyboard make me feel constrained.
I compose my first drafts in longhand in hotel bars and cafes. I sit alone and yet feel deeply connected to the wide variety of people coming and going.
Writing in longhand allows my mind to engage in a kind of fluid “dance” with the movement of my hand; their reciprocity frees up my creativity.
Janice Eidus is a novelist, short story writer, essayist, and writing coach. She’s twice won the O.Henry Prize as well as a Pushcart Prize. Among her novels are The War Of The Rosens; Urban Bliss; and The Last Jewish Virgin, and her story collections include Vito Loves Geraldine and The Celibacy Club. Her autobiographical essays about such subjects as her iconoclastic childhood in the Bronx and her current life as the adoptive mother of a daughter from Guatemala, appear in such magazines and newspapers as The New York Times, Purple Clover, Lilith and Tikkun. She loves writing for themed anthologies; among the 40-plus anthologies in which she’s published fiction and essays are The Oxford Book of Jewish Stories; How Does That Make You Feel: True Confessions From Both Sides Of The Therapy Couch; Desire: Women Write About Wanting; and, Idol Talk: Women Writers On The Teenage Infatuation That Changed Their Lives. She lives in the bustling heart of New York City with her husband, teenage daughter, and their feisty rescue cat, Cherry.
Linda K. Sienkiewicz is the author of the award-winning novel In the Context of Love, a story about one woman’s need to tell her truth without shame.
2017 New Apple Book Awards Official Selection
2016 Sarton Women’s Fiction Finalist
2016 Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist
2016 Readers’ Favorite Finalist
2016 USA Book News Best Book Finalist
“…at once a love story, a cautionary tale, and an inspirational journey.” ~ Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of National Book Award Finalist, American Salvage