Polymath or dilettante, Renaissance woman or amateur? I find in the definitions of all these terms something appealing, whether they are usually used in a complimentary way or not. The connotations of being a dilettante or amateur include, after all, a sense of amusement and of doing something purely out of pleasure or enjoyment. After twenty years in the writing and academic biz—with all the hustling and hurly-burly—I have come back to my focus on simply exploring and reveling in what I do, what I see, and the fundamental task of inscribing thoughts and ideas through words on a page, or on a screen, as is often the case these days.
I write in a variety of modes and genres—memoir, fiction, poetry, literary scholarship, cultural criticism, and personal essay. I write about a constellation of issues around the body and physicality, including health and illness, the natural world, the meaning of place, and the fraught nature of human relationships. I try to look carefully and closely, with an eye toward humor. My goal is to be a truth-teller in a world of euphemism and misdirection, understanding all the while how tricky, even nonexistent, the truth can be. As a writer, I want to always be reaching, even toward what exists only in our imaginations.