I was born and brought up in Pasadena, California. Among my young-person activities were being one of the innumerable young women who passed through Kenneth Rexroth's poetry seminar at UC-Santa Barbara (where I also ran a show on the campus radio station); somehow acquiring a degree in psycholinguistics with a minor in philosophy from UC-Berkeley (I took a class from the Lakoffs when they were still very post-Chomskyan and still together); and working at a few little-known Bay Area software companies because even way back then, that's where the jobs were for liberal-arts flakes.
I worked as a technology magazine staffer back when technology held little mainstream interest and magazines still existed. In my freelance life, I supported myself for years writing about technology --- either in a day-job capacity for technology pubs and technology companies or in a more belle lettrist fashion for venues such as Wired, where I was on its masthead in its first couple of years.
Technology writing was something I fell into and was something I could do; but I remained fundamentally a literary writer who was simply taking advantage of the zeitgeist in order to make a living. Paying the rent also included work for technology companies: for example, here's something I wrote on Virtual Reality and art for the in-house magazine of Silicon Graphics.
Along the way I attended graduate school for a year at the University of Arizona (where I took a class with a second dissolute name-brand writer, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Kiowa N.Scott Momaday), and then transfered to Columbia, where I received an MFA and had one semester with the only writing instructor who ever did me any good, novelist/essayist Phillip Lopate. I learned a lot from then-an-editor-at Knopf, Elisabeth Sifton. And film editor Ralph Rosenbaum (Annie Hall, The Pawnbroker, etc.) left me with the lesson that what you leave out is as important as what you leave in, and that editing makes the narrative.
I have always considered myself a second-rate poet, as the first work I published were poems that I can still stand to read. My first published short story was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and the novella "Love Over The Wires", the first fiction Wired published, has so passed into the culture that it has been a subject for online term-paper mills and pieces of it have been hacked, excerpted, and appropriated endlessly.
Cyberselfish, the book which Public Affairs published in 2000, had a very long and fortunate media arc --- including the evening when I was doing a reading at the Washington D.C. bookstore Politics and Prose, an event which was being broadcast on C-Span and where nice young men from the Cato Institute who were wearing black trench coats were picketing outside.
Not hobbies, but
I was a judge for the Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Awards, the Webby Awards, and the Medinge Group Brand With a Conscience Awards. I sang in the Santa Cruz Sacred Harp/Shape Note society off and on for about 10 years, and helped put on the concert series at the Berkeley Hillside Club from 2004 to 2010.
I ended up on the steering committee of the California Studies Association in 2009. From August 2007 to August 2010, I worked obsessively as an eco-nut/environmental activist/sustainable-agriculture advocate to end the United States Department of Agriculture/California Department of Food and Agriculture Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM) eradication program.
Three file cabinets full of materials having to do with the moth wars, as well as my personal and professional archives, will become part of special collections at UC-Davis.