I have been teaching English Composition and Contemporary Literature at Palm Beach State College in Lake Worth, Florida for the last seven years. I actually moved to Florida from New York to retire, but I could only play so much tennis and mah jong, before I began to long for the excitement and challenge that students provide. Prior to moving south I taught English in New York on many levels ranging from sixth grade to college.
Many writers influenced and continue to inspire me. My major influence is William Shakespeare. His knowledge of the human heart and his ability to express its desires constantly amazes me. I admire so many other poets and authors that I would fill ten pages listing their names, so suffice it to say that I love concise, clean prose that depicts the shared experience of what it is to be human.
I also think that Woody Allen is one of our greatest moralists and writers. His films Crimes and Misdemeanors and Love and Death summarize my ideas about the comedies and tragedies of our lives.
I wrote my book The Conspiracies of Dreams after my sister-in-law phoned my husband late one June night from Israel to tell him that an Egyptian spy had been surreptitiously following her for 25 years. He first saw her while he was on an espionage mission prior to the 1956 Suez War between Israel and Egypt. He fell in love with her as he watched her referee a volleyball game between high school girls and continued to watch over her for the next quarter of a century without her knowledge. When she missed a bus one Friday afternoon in 1979, he knew she need to go to Ashkelon, a town 30 miles away from her home to help her mother tend to her father who had just broken his leg. He convinced her to come into his cab, and then he showed her all the photos he had taken of her since he first saw her. She was astounded that he considered these pictures his good luck tokens and that if he were ever captured, he would look at them before he would be executed. When the cab arrived in Ashkelon, he directed the driver to her house, kissed her hand, and wished her father well. She had never seen him before that ride and never saw him again.
Her experience intrigued me and I asked her permission to fictionalize it. I have woven it into a novel which depicts how Jews, Christians, Moslems, and Canaanites all shared and still share an ancient dream of possessing the land that lies between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea which they believe is sacred. Against the backdrop of the circumstances leading to the 1956 Suez War between Egypt, Israel, France, and England I have created a love story which encompasses the forbidden romance of Romeo and Juliet, Delilah's betrayal of Samson, the treachery of Britain's MI6 double agents, and the conniving of Anthony Eden as the Egyptian spy's and the Israeli girl's story spans three millennia of history. The prologue and the epilogue are poignantly narrated by the Canaanite donkey goddess Pales, who is still looking for her worshippers, but she can no longer find them, even though many people call the land Palestine in her honor.