A LETTTER TO READERS
Sometimes, when I’m at my computer writing and my mind is as blank as the screen, I swivel my chair toward the right where the past is and see my dead father sitting at my dining room table, sipping a cup of tea. The steam rises and fogs his eyeglasses, but I can still make out the pale blue of his eyes. He’s as see-through as the yellow nylon shirt he’s wearing.
He shrugs his shoulders. “Nu?” he says, a Yiddish nudge that translates roughly to, “Come on, already,” and I swivel back to my computer and begin to write.
We can all use a nudge sometimes and I’m always happy to see him.
Is it my father who impels me to write about the immigrant experience which is really a metaphor for the spirit world—living in both words simultaneously—part of you here, the rest there? Is it my father who impels me to write about the clash of generations, the ideas from the old world butting up against the new while all the voices of those who have passed still chattering inside your head?
My father went through horror as a young boy in Tsarist Russia, but you should have seen him doing the kasatke–kicking out his legs, twirling in the air. For me, that’s what I want readers to feel when they read my books. The characters have big problems, but boy, will they ever make you enjoy yourselves!