Well, okay, not all about me. But here's something to chew on:
I was born in Tennessee, grew up in Massachusetts and went to college and graduate school in New York City. I graduated from Barnard College with a degree in Political Science and Russian Language, after spending a semester at what was then called the University of Leningrad in the Soviet Union.
My Masters in Science is from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. Prior to entering the "J" school, I was chosen as the sole David Jayne Fellow by Columbia and ABC News. I then went to work in London before returning to graduate school. During my one year graduate program, I also worked at ABC News in New York 32 hours a week: 16 hours both Saturdays and Sundays. By the end of the academic year, I had mono. But I also had a job upon graduation, which was something to boast about in that economy.
I worked at ABC for four years before I took flight for the West Coast. My move was prompted by a restless spirit (I desperately wanted to become a reporter), lousy weather, even lousier pay and union dues that strangled me. I guess the final straw was the night I returned to my apartment on 103rd street at 1 a.m. in frigid temperatures just as a woman my age was being murdered on the roof top across the street.
A month later, I landed in San Francisco. I'd never been west of Tennessee (and had no memory of my infancy there.) I bought a one-way ticked on People's Express, carried on a submarine sandwich, my American Tourister suitcase that had travelled the world with me, one box of clothes and $500 to my name.
A friend from high school, her new room mate, and a run down flat in the Haight-Ashbury awaited me. Mark Twain had it all wrong: the coldest winter I ever spent was that first winter in our unheated flat on Del Mar street.
I am happily married to Mark, a great man and cool designer, whom I met 24 years ago (we just celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary.) We have a fabulous teenage son. And we live with two rescued cats, who now own us, in Oakland, which really is the new Brooklyn.
For 25 years, I've worked every which way in the news business, from writer/editor at KCBS radio, when I first landed in San Francisco, to reporter at KFBK radio, where I sat alongside a guy named Rush Limbaugh (who was always very nice to me, frequently invited me on his show, and called me a "flaming lib in the newsroom.")
Moving into television, I reported for the CBS, NBC and Fox TV stations in San Francisco and Oakland. My speciality was crime stories and I was dubbed the "blood and guts reporter." At one point I spent five years working in corporate TV for the Bechtel Corporation, which I loved because I worked normal hours, had holidays off and had really smart bosses (that's a wink-wink about the news business.)
When Max was born, he lived in intensive care for 3 months as a surgical patient. His life changed mine - for the better, a gazillion times over. Once he was out of the woods I began to focus more on health stories. After turning a dinky newsletter for a medical foundation into a 50-page quarterly journal that I edited for a few years, I turned my sights to national magazines and newspapers.
Beginning in 2000, I wrote for The New York Times on health, business and the arts. I juggled those stories with many more lifestyle, health and business features for local and national magazines, averaging 24 stories a year. In 2008, I stepped away from that vehicle and focused solely on finishing:
Finding Clarity: A Mom, A Dwarf and a Posh Private School in the People's Republic of Berkeley.
I now teach writing at a San Francisco non-profit, hold several volunteer jobs at Max's school, and we work as a family every month at the Berkeley Men's Shelter. Not content to juggle that, a novel, family, home, and my blog, I started Murder at the Mailbox: A Clari Drake Mystery, a direct offshoot from Finding Clarity.
Come fly with me! Laura