I’m a writer, an opinionated talker, an ex-advertising exec, a photographer, a clown pimp, a button artist, a shrinky-dink aficionado, a professional hypochondriac, and consequent self-proclaimed medical professional.
Born in Kiev, my family defected to New York City in the 1979 wave of Russian-Jewish immigrants (aka refugees). This dramatic transition has apparently left me with an eternal quest for a sense of belonging and a perpetual cultural identity crisis. Growing up, my mother persisted that we were neither Ukrainian nor Russian, but simply Jews from the former Soviet Union. “Just imagine you were born over the ocean,” she tried to explain as I demanded a nationality to go with my religion.
As a child, I preferred the animated conversations of grown-ups, sweetened by the sexiness of coffee and cigarettes, to that of playing with children my age.
I spent my adolescence starring in an ironic, Russian immigrant coming of age story amongst vodka and donuts in my family’s dinette in Staten Island. By the time I got to NYU, certain I’d be the next Barbara Walters, I was living more like a 30-year old than a college student. I crushed my own broadcast journalism dreams, caving into the monetary temptation of the falsely glamorized world of advertising agencies.
I got married. I dipped my toe into a piece of the dot-com bubble. I became a mom of a boy. I got divorced. I started Hearts Everywhere as a blog where I documented my Life 2.0, chasing the American Dream of life, love and pursuit of happiness.
I fell in love with a clown – in the romantic comedy, NYC-is-your-backdrop, fairytale, real-life movie, make-others-around-you-gag, kind of way. I got drunk on a fishbowl’s worth of booze and broke my foot. A woman fell on me on an NYC corner and broke my knee. Then, I lost my job.
So my 6-year-old and I moved into the clown’s second-floor walk-up, above an Indian restaurant, and I took over the business aspect of the clown company. We enjoyed many perks of NYC living such as bedbugs and rats, and despite such romantic conditions, I still managed to get pregnant. I threw up for 9 months and wrote about it ad nauseam [involuntary clown-infused humor] into a 400-page book still to be edited. We moved to Wall Street (since that’s the obvious place for a clown to live with his pregnant wanna-be writer girlfriend and her kid). I became a mom of a girl.
Then, our $1,000 rent increase forced our new family of 4 into 3 months of purgatory, shacked up with my dad in his Staten Island basement (aka refugees 2.0). Eventually, we made our way to NJ, went to court with our contractor, survived Hurricane Sandy … and I started a business making button collages.
Then, ten years from the day we met, I married the clown.
Life has been narrating stories way faster than I have been able to write them down. My brain has reached maximum story-storage capacity and now it’s finally time to let the insanity spill out from my head onto the page.