Jane MacDonald


On Writing
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Let me get the obvious out of the way
first. Born: 1964, Dallas, Texas, USA. Now I
work part-time as a vocational counselor
and spend most of the rest of my time taking
care of a house, a husband, and two
children who are not yet at the totally
obnoxious stage. I mean the children; the
husband varies.

My parents are exotics. They're old now,
but my father used to be a war
correspondent, and my mother an
actor--they called it "actress" in her prime.
I always thought my father worked for the
CIA, but he wouldn't admit it; he just
wandered off to "Washington" sometimes
for extended periods and brought me
souvenirs from weird places. The rest of the
time he was a newspaper editor, and now
he's retired. A Scot, he got stationed in
Ireland by his paper after the Korean War
and scooped up my mother there. They
moved to Dallas shortly afterward. Both
these people are smart and opinionated.
That's why I'm always so judicious, careful,
and tolerant.

I'm what they call in Texas a "fall
crop"--my parents unfortunately had two
other children long before I was born. My
big brother is a corporation lawyer, my
sister a socialite married to riches. Both are
Republicans, and consider me odd. I'm not
at all odd--they are.

After getting born, I fiddled around a while
and then went to college, where I majored
in English with a minor in French. College
seemed stodgy to me, and I argued with
professors, so my grades were mediocre. I
spent most of my high school and college
years trying to read as many good books as
possible and at the same time to become the
world's foremost female jock. I succeeded in
the first but not in the second, but I had a
glorious time at both.

In order to get out from under anybody's
thumb, I talked the parents into paying
most of the freight for me go to grad school
in Boston. (Come to think of it, maybe their
thumbs were tired.) There I got a Master's
in Education, the aforementioned husband,
and the kids. We now live in a yuppie
suburb because I have sinned and am
paying for it; one of my major aims is to live
near the Loop or in lower Manhattan.

In college an unusual history professor
made me learn how to write. It was a
revelation, because I'd thought I already
knew. After that I wrote everything--other
people's term papers, minutes of meetings,
letters to the Internal Revenue service for
my delinquent friends, fund-raising pleas
and ads for a priest who helps the homeless,
various kinds of reports, and whatever else
my illiterate friends and employers wanted

All through this I threw things (shot,
javelin, rocks, whatever), swam, and
jumped around a lot. Being nearly six feet
tall has been useful in all my endeavors. But
when my back finally quit on me in my late
twenties, I got very restless and did a lot of
more or less interesting things, including
learn a fair amount about computers, but
couldn't find quite the right one. One day in
February, 1998, however, I wrote a
story--my first. Since then I've turned out
about fifty of them, some of which aren't
bad, and I'm not nearly as restless.

Of course I've left out the juicy parts about
sex, booze, and Stockhausen, but you never
know who'll read these things. Incidentally,
I'm a gorgeous blonde. If you believe that, I
have a bridge to sell.