Eclectic (ə klé ktik): deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.
My house and office are always clean, but never neat. After endless campaigns to eliminate clutter, I have finally come to accept that having unlimited interests and wanting to try everything is not conducive to living a clutter-free life of minimalist bookshelves, roomy file cabinets, and clear countertops. That may suggest to you why my book Wordstruck! The Fun and Fascination of Language is light-hearted explorations of sixty very different topics under the umbrella of words, language, and cultures.
My background just might be as eclectic as my book. I am a career foreign language teacher, but have also worked in advertising, managed restaurants, been a model, led group travel to foreign countries, and done medical translation. I have learned both Spanish and Italian as second languages and so, am qualified to be an enthusiastic crusader for foreign language acquisition at any age, stressing the fantastic benefits of bilingualism for your brain, career, bank account, and world view.
Riding against the tide in this age of sound bites and short attention spans, I am a passionate advocate for developing a lifelong devotion to reading, for it is a love affair that promises to be ever fresh and vitally stimulating for imagination, creativity, and communication. I want to encourage youth to read well and often, and to inspire people of all ages and interests to keep reaching for yet another satisfying read.
I earned my degrees from the University of California at Davis in Spanish literature and taught at UC Davis and Sacramento City College for fifteen years. Now I am Professor Emeritus at Mendocino College in Northern California after heading the foreign language department there for 24 years. After retiring from college teaching, I wasn’t looking to “re-invent” myself again, and certainly wasn’t bored, but part of my clutter consisted of stacks of notes about words, language, and cultures that I hoped to write about someday. By the grace of the muse of mortality, I translated “someday” into now or never and proposed a column on words, language, cultures, and travel to the editor of my local newspaper. I’ve been publishing on these themes twice a month for several years, motivated by my love for writing, the enthusiasm of my readers, and of course, looming deadlines that I wouldn’t dream of missing. Those column articles were the inspiration for my first book Wordstruck! The Fun and Fascination of Language, which aspires to be equally delightful and nourishing for the brain, the heart, and the funny bone.
I continue to teach private classes in Spanish and Italian, coach language learners on skill development and fluency, work as a volunteer translator at a medical clinic in Mexico, and develop learning resources to make foreign language acquisition practical, fun, and effective. I speak about the benefits of bilingualism, and the ecstasy of having a life-long love affair with reading every chance I get and to audiences of all ages.
I reside in Mendocino County of Northern California where magnificent redwood trees, legendary wines, and great friendships are a source of wonder, inspiration, and joy.