I was thinking of editing my “about” section below, since it was written several years ago and some things have changed. But that’s who I was, and not so much has changed. Just a few updates:
I have been accepted to the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, and will begin my first residency in January. (For those not familiar with the low-residency format for getting a Masters in Fine Arts: I will go to Asheville two times a year for ten days to take classes and participate in seminars and critique workshops; then during the rest of the semester, I will exchange “packets” with a writer on the faculty that include my original work and critical essays about literature I’m reading.)
My first short story, “Trespasses,” is forthcoming this spring in The Colorado Review.
Trixie is now 15 and in high school and she loves Latin and Chemistry. She still loves to read, she has super cool friends whom we love, and she bakes awesome chocolate chip cookies. She has also taken over the chore of doing the family’s laundry, which means I have fewer opportunities to hang clothes on the line, but I’m working on being OK with that.
Micah is nine and continues in all his passions, but has added gymnastics to the list. Also whittling and climbing trees. He has more friends than anyone I know and is thoughtful and respectful to all adults except his parents. We’re working on that. He was diagnosed a few years ago with some learning differences and ADHD, and now that he’s in a new school and he and I are both properly medicated, life in our house is much calmer and happier.
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I am a writer and a homemaker. My family and I are trying to live a rural, Midwestern life in a gritty neighborhood of Philadelphia. Mostly, somehow, we seem to make it work. We have a garden on two vacant lots we bought from the city, so that helps. Even if we do have a neighbor who is a villainess right out of a Jane Austen novel and who hates our garden with a fiery white-hot passion. Even so, it helps to have some dirt to dig in. Of course it also helps that most of the rest of our neighbors are terrific. It’s like living in a friendly small town, right here in the heart of the city.
My wife Julie is a high school English teacher in Philadelphia’s public vocational-agriculture school. She is also the music director at our church. She loves good books, good beer, and her bike. She’s also hilarious and tricks her students into loving Shakespeare.
Julie and I have two kids, thirteen-year-old Trixie and seven-year-old Micah. Trixie is named after my late mother, who in turn was named after the then-princess, now-queen of the Netherlands, where my mother was born. Micah is named after the prophet in the Hebrew Scriptures, specifically Micah 6:8 — “And what does God require of you but to do justice and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?”
Trixie used to imagine herself “not like other girls” and more like, say, Hermione Granger — until she turned thirteen, when she promptly got her ears pierced, her hair cut, exchanged her glasses for contact lenses, and started listening to Taylor Swift and Ke$ha. Fortunately, she still loves to read. She also loves Shakespeare, which makes her Mama Julie very happy.
Micah joined our family through adoption, and so has the distinction of being the only kid he knows with three moms. Micah loves to fish, ride his trick bike, build things (“Grandpa Jim works in wood; I work in cardboard.”), and play with his fire-bellied toads. He knows a crazy lot about sharks and whales, and plans to build a boat next summer. He’s also very fond of his DS, which he thinks Julie should let him play while she’s reading him Harry Potter.
As for me, I love to cook, bake bread, and hang laundry out to dry. Like Julie, I love good books and good beer (though not so much the bike). I am interested in ethics, especially of sex and food. (Truth be told, I’m also interested in plain old sex and food; a side of ethics is just bonus.) I find myself often thinking, and frequently despairing, about seemingly intractable problems related to race and poverty. I am an unorthodox — some would say heretical — Christian who departs from most Christian theology on the topics of sex and salvation. (For the record, I believe Obama is a Christian. But if he were a Muslim, that would be cool too. Or an atheist, for that matter.)
In another lifetime, I was a lay breastfeeding counselor, and before that I was an attorney, and before that a technical writer, and before that a high school English teacher. I’ve also worked in various capacities for my church, Old First Reformed, UCC, over the past decade — as the director of our summer camp for children living in poverty, as a Sunday School teacher, as a member of the Official Board, and as the Director of Christian Education. I also recently stepped down after six years as a member of the Board of Trustees of Wissahickon Charter School, a terrific learning community of which I am inordinately proud.
I have two degrees, a BA in Peace and Global Studies (1987) from Earlham College and a JD (1997) from Temple Law School. As it turns out, the BA is the far more practical degree in my life as I live it, though I did love law school. For real. I just hated practicing law.
I used to be a runner, and even ran a marathon once, but have recently been benched by plantar fasciitis. I need to either get the discipline to overcome this injury, or find a new sport. Biking would be the most logical, wouldn’t it? Except I sort of hate to bike. Sigh.
The one thread running through the myriad incarnations of my life is that I love to write. In the past I have mostly written essays and memoir; more recently I have begun writing short fiction. I also love to write haiku and sonnets, but mostly as silly puzzles (which is to say they are silly when I write them; when others write them, they can be brilliant forms of poetry).
You can find me on Facebook (Marta Rose) and on Twitter (marta_rose).
What else? Don’t be afraid to ask!