Miriam Dufer was born and raised in Alabama, where she graduated from Gordo High School. She completed her undergraduate training at the University of Alabama with a degree in English and a minor in Creative Writing in 1998. She graduated from California State University Dominguez Hills in 2005 with an M.A. in Humanities with a concentration in Literature. She is now working toward her English PhD
Like many writers, I have an inner dialogue that screams at me or sometimes whispers. Sometimes it comes in my dream state, sometimes it comes from a face on the street or something that I notice in nature. Unlike many writers, my muse is not fixed but a mutable source of inspiration that randomly taps me on the shoulder or sucker punches me in the gut until I put pen to paper.
What is my marital status?
I have been happily married to the most wonderful man, David, for 7 years. We have a 7 year old daughter, Youngsun.
The story about my husband: During a trip to Italy in early 2002, I was standing in Saint Peter's Basilica and I said a prayer. I spoke to God just like I am speaking to you and said, "Lord, I am a good person, a good girlfriend and I want someone to love." After I returned from my vacation, one of my colleagues took me to dinner but before we went to dinner, we stopped by one of close friends homes. It was at that home that I met David. The first moment that I saw him, I knew! This is him!!!!! Of course, he will tell you that it took a little more time for me to grow on him :) but I knew at once and we have been together ever since. God blessed me with David and I know that prayer DOES work.
What are my favorite 6 books and why?
1. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. This book is very encouraging and simply breathtaking. It doesn't tell anything that we don't already know about life but it puts it into perspective and makes things actionable. God wants so much for us and we have to open ourselves up to His blessings and sometimes make our own.
2. Lord of the Flies by William Golding. The classic tale of a group of English school boys who are left stranded on an unpopulated island, and who must confront not only the defects of their society but the defects of their own natures. I never tire of reading this book. It is truly a microcosm of society.
3. La Cucina by Lily Prior. I bought this book in Rome and read it on the train as I traveled. I laughed (out loud), cried, contemplated. This book is so detailed and beautiful. La Cucina combines the sensuous pleasures of love and food, simmering in the heat of a Sicilian kitchen. Rosa Fiore is a solitary middle-aged librarian who has resigned herself to a loveless life, and expresses her passionate nature through her delicious cooking. Then, one day, she meets an enigmatic chef, known only as l'Inglese, whose research on the heritage of Sicilian cuisine leads him into Rosa's library and into her heart. They share one sublime summer of discovery, during which l'Inglese awakens the power of Rosa's sexuality, and together they reach new heights of culinary passion. When he vanishes unexpectedly, Rosa returns to her family's estate to grieve for her lost love only to find a new fulfillment as well as many surprises in the magic of her beloved Cucina. A love song to Italy, La Cucina is a celebration of all things sensual. It spills over with intense images, colors, fragrances, and exuberant characters, all reflecting the splendor of the Sicilian countryside in which it is set.
4. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. Three brothers struggle to stay together after their parents' death, as they search for an identity among the conflicting values of their adolescent society in which they find themselves "outsiders."
5. Empress of the Death House by Toi Derricotte. This was the first Derricotte book that I read. I met her in 1995 at Stillman College at a poetry reading and I immediately fell in love with her work. She was the inspiration and topic of my MA Thesis. The poetry in this book is bar none some of the best imagery ever. Derricotte makes you feel, laugh, cry, and celebrate with each poem.
6. The Black Notebooks: An Interior Journey by Toi Derricotte. This book was actually the catalyst for my MA Thesis. As I was reading Derricotte's words, I wondered why I identified with them so greatly although I can not pass for white as she can. The way she deals with race and self-identification is so fascinating and this book should be on every one's shelf.
What are my favorite films and why?
Splendor in the Grass - A classic tale about social class and the loss of love. Natalie Wood was fabulous as Deanie Loomis and as we see her fall into mental instability and rise from that low point, our hearts go with her.
The Godfather is my favorite mafia movie. What I love about it is the closeness of family and the loyalty in family business. Puzo swears that he doesn't know any Mafia members so the fact that this all fiction is incredible.
Roots is a 1977 American television miniseries based on Alex Haley's work. I remember watching this for the first time as a small child. My Grandma Lillie had told me similar stories and to see this on film was surreal.
The Joy Luck Club is a 1993 American movie about the relationships between Chinese-American women and their Chinese mothers. It was based on the 1989 novel of the same name by Amy Tan. The film was produced by Oliver Stone and directed by Wayne Wang. The cast is notable for consisting primarily of Asian American women. The stories in this movie are universal stories about coming of age, male-female relationships, feminine independence, mother-daughter relationships. Not to mention that Russell Wong is feature in this movie. It will always be one of my favorites.
Profondo Rossa written and directed by Dario Argento. After witnessing the brutal murder of his psychic neighbor (Macha Meril) by person or persons unknown, a British musician in Rome (David Hemmings) obsesses over details of the crime and uncovers a series of clues which lead to further bloodshed and horror. My best friend turned me on to this movie and I'm so happy I discovered it. It is interesting to see how other cultures influence our cinema.
Romeo and Juliet I remember watching this for the first time in Elementary School and thought that Juliet was soooo beautiful. I wanted to be her. The quintessential love story, this is a movie that must bee seen. The film was directed by Franco Zeffirelli, and won Academy Awards for Best Cinematography and Best Costume Design. It was also nominated for Best Director and Best Picture. Sir Laurence Olivier spoke the film's prologue and epilogue and dubbed the voice of the Italian Actor playing Lord Montague, but was never credited in the film.
La Vita è Bella is a 1997 Italian language film which tells the story of a Jewish Italian, Guido Orefice (played by Roberto Benigni, who also directed and co-wrote the film), who must learn how to use his fertile imagination to help his son survive their internment in a Nazi concentration camp. This film touched my heart in so many ways. I was turned on to this movie by my best friend again and I have never regretted watching it. Benigni is magnificent. Whether in English or Italian, this movie will bring you to tears and make you laugh until your side hurts.
Tell us 4 things about yourself that are lesser known about you:
1. I love journals. I collect them when I travel. My most prized journal is a fine leather bound that I picked up in Roma, Italia. The smell of the leather is hypnotizing and the paper is unbelievable.
2. I'm an Etymology nerd. I love to learn the origin of words and their meanings. My 10Th grade English teacher, Mrs. Lewis, turned me on to this and I have been obsessed with Etymology since. I suppose that is why I became an English major. Language is so powerful.
3. When I was 13 years old, I wanted to be a nun. Born and baptized a Baptist, I'm sure this was an odd aspiration. Nonetheless, I was completely fascinated with nuns. As a Catholic convert, my fascination still exists and I love my faith. To totally dedicate oneself to God's work is incredible and selfless. My conformation name is Theresa, after Saint Theresa of Liseux and Mother Teresa. My daughter's baptismal name is also Theresa. While I was in Iraq, I prayed Mother Teresa's Prayer and it comforted me. I do pray that more people will enter the vocation as we are short on priests.
4. I have no regrets in my life. I'm human and of course I've had difficult times and made mistakes but I believe that every moment of our past leads us to where we are supposed to be. If you live with regret, you miss the blessings before you. Life is a journey. I try to look at difficulties as opportunities to grow and change.
Reform, AL USA
Marquis Who's Who of America, 2009
Marquis Who's Who of American Women, 2002-2007
Marquis Who's Who of Emerging Leaders, 2007
Chancellor's List, 2005 and 2006
Dean's List, 1995
Professional Memberships and Affiliations:
Modern Language Association
The Academy of American Poets
The Dante Society of America
Alabama Poetry Society
The Military Police Regimental Association
The R.O.C.K.S, Inc.
Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society (Scholarship Committee)
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
Gamma Sigma Sigma National Service Sorority (Life Member)
The National Genealogical Society
Catholic Daughters of the Americas
The Rhetoric Society of America
MELUS The Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States
National Council of Teachers of English
The Linguistic Society of America
International Language and Law Association
Dufer, Miriam D. "Games of Deception". Encyclopedia of Play in Today's Society. Ed. Rodney P. Carlisle. 2 vols. New York: Sage Publications, Inc. 14 Apr 09. ISBN 1412966701 / 1-41296670-1 EAN 9781412966702
Dufer, Miriam D. "Grand Theft Auto". Encyclopedia of Play in Today's Society. Ed. Rodney P. Carlisle. 2 vols. New York: Sage Publications, Inc. 14 Apr 09. ISBN 1412966701 / 1-41296670-1 EAN 9781412966702
Dufer, Miriam D. "Play as Learning, Sociology of". Encyclopedia of Play in Today's Society. Ed. Rodney P. Carlisle. 2 vols. New York: Sage Publications, Inc. 14 Apr 09. ISBN 1412966701 / 1-41296670-1 EAN 9781412966702
Dufer, Miriam D. "Tic Tac Toe". Encyclopedia of Play in Today's Society. Ed. Rodney P. Carlisle. 2 vols. New York: Sage Publications, Inc. 14 Apr 09. ISBN 1412966701 / 1-41296670-1 EAN 9781412966702
Dufer, Miriam D. "Free African Society". Encyclopedia of the Early Republic and Antebellum America. Ed. Christopher Bates. New York: M.E. Sharpe, Inc.
Dufer, Miriam D. "Pierce Butler and The Weeping Time". Encyclopedia of the Early Republic and Antebellum America. Ed. Christopher Bates. New York: M.E. Sharpe, Inc. .
Dufer, Miriam D. "19th MP Bn (CID) semi-annual Leaders Conference: South Korean military legend also attends conference". The Shield. United States Army Criminal Investigation Command Public Affairs Office. (5). April 2008.
Dufer, Miriam D. Stage Left. Paperback: 74 pages. Publisher: Miriam D. Dufer (June 1, 2007).
Language: English. ISBN-13: 978-0-6151-4796-3.
Dufer, Miriam D. Confessions and Other Strange Impulses: A Book of Poetry in Two Acts. Paperback: 64 pages Publisher: Lulu.com (October 12, 2006) Language: English. ISBN-10: 1847283543. ISBN-13: 978-1847283542
Dufer, Miriam D. The Image and Identity of the Black Woman in the Poetry and Prose of Toi Derricotte. (Proquest/UMI 2005 and 2006) Paperback: 94 pages Publisher: ProQuest / UMI (October 31, 2006) Language: English. ISBN-10: 0542039087
Zealous for Cooking: Recipes, Photos and Memories. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Pi Eta Zeta Chapter. Ed. Miriam D. Dufer. 72 pages. Publisher: Miriam D. Dufer/Pi Eta Zeta (2006). Language: English.
The Official Miriam Dufer Website