Books, Short Stories, and Essays
New Book: A Few Small Stones
A collection of short stories (Unsolicited Press, forthcoming 2018)
The linked stories of A FEW SMALL STONES follow Alice and her extended immigrant family in 1940s New York City as they cope with the upheavals before, during and after World War II. The stories show the pain of separation and the guilt of survival, the price of upward mobility, and the ultimate disintegration of family. In one story, the sexism of the period devastates a brother and sister. Another examines the city’s racial divide, and still another takes us to a rally on the beaches in the summer of 1940 and the violent conflict between neo-Nazi isolationists and those who wanted to enter the war against Hitler and prevent the annihilation of Jews.
Although A FEW SMALL STONES occurs in a particular place from 1939 to 1948, immigrants and their families in every era will recognize the difficulty of adapting and adjusting to a new culture, language and land. Readers from all backgrounds will identify with the alliances and feuds, the jealousies and pains, the illness and death that divide and destroy families and the surprising acts of generosity and love that can bring reconciliation.
Selected Short Stories
Uncle Sol Comes To America, published in Tupolo Quarterly, and semi-finalist in 2016 prose competition
A Few Small Stones, published in Hadassah Magazine (2016)
Wednesday Night Fiction: TA-DA!, published in Jewish Currents (2016)
Witness To History, published in Persimmon Tree (2016)
Life List, a winner of Writer’s Digest Short Shorts Competition (2015)
Selected Academic Articles
“Early Dissent Between Wordsworth and Coleridge” The Wordsworth Circle,
“From Self-Analysis to Academic Analysis: An Approach to Expository Writing” – College English, 1978
“How To Be A Good College Parent,” Parents League Review, 1997
To Find the Right College, Ask The Right Questions,” Parents League Review, 2001
“Discovering What Matters: A Focus Group on Retirement,” Georgie Gatch, Marilyn Katz, Elizabeth Saunders and Phyllis Schwartz, “Women Confronting Retirement: A Non –Traditional Guide, edited by Nan Bauer Maglin and Alice Radosh, Rutgers University Press 2003
“What’s Really Going On Here: The Therapists Perspective,” Cut Loose (Mostly) Older Women Talk About The End of (Mostly) Long-Term Relationships. Rutgers University Press, Nan Bauer Maglin, 2006
As teacher, dean, editor or mentor, I encouraged others to write to deepen their understanding of material. I listened, identified the fears that got in the way, and urged everyone, from my students in the poverty program in the early seventies to those at SUNY, Purchase and Sarah Lawrence College to see that the process of writing and revising clarifies thinking.
Although highly fictionalized, Alice ‘s extended family in A FEW SMALL STONES is based on my own. Revising these linked short stories over several years, I began to appreciate what my grandmother and her six brothers and sisters experienced when they settled on the Lower East Side of New York City early in the twentieth century. But as I fictionalized, Alice became the child I never was, and her mother, father, grandparents, cousins, uncles and aunts evolved into complex characters I invented, with their own diction and points of view.
With A FEW SMALL STONES, I chose the immigrant experience, not only because it was mine, but also because we are a nation of immigrants. And no matter when immigrants came to America, they faced many of the same conflicts. They had to assess their loss of home, and many could never go back. Those who could and can, have a dual allegiance, and relatives who stayed and may not understand them. But all immigrants must forge a new identity for themselves and their families in a strange and often hostile place at a particular moment in its history. We explore the 1940s in these stories; if I chose the fifties, the late sixties, or today, the immigrant experience would be affected by the political and social forces of that period.
When we meet a character in a story who is very unlike us, we are forced to question our generalizations, stereotypes and assumptions. My choice of immigration ensures that, as Americans, we will always find what we share. As readers get to know my characters, they realize how their own background and upbringing shaped their thinking. Stories make us reflect and reassess our opinions. Writing enhances understanding and can energize the reader to political and social action.
Throughout my career, I wrote many academic articles, found the process an act of discovery, and learned from every one. I wanted to write fiction, but respected the form too much, and was afraid I couldn’t. The untimely tragedy of widowhood compelled me to write about personal experience. I filled journal after journal, trusting the process would sort out what I lost when my beloved husband died, and what new life I might find. I began with memoir, but struggled for honesty and accuracy. Writing a memoir would also hurt and expose the people I love the most. I also wanted to explore points of view other than my own. Crossing into fiction, I stopped reconstructing what actual relatives and friends did and said, and invented characters, using every insight I learned over the years. I know how a bright seven year responds to the concerns of adults, how a successful immigrant feels when he learns his only brother was shot in the streets of the city where he grew up, or how a flirtatious young woman starts to take political action seriously after she participates in a rally. With some research, I developed scenes authentic to a period I remembered, but learned more and more about through this process.
How grateful I am that I I lived long enough to do what I have always wanted to do, and am privileged enough to be sheltered, clothed and fed while I do.
A disciplined commitment to a creative passion is a transforming experience, and connects us to our deepest feelings and those of others. I have spent some of the most exciting hours of my life among my invented characters. I have lots of stories to tell, and I’m eager to see how they turn out.