Born in Italy, rina alcalay grew up in Argentina and Chile. At 26 she came to the United States and earned her M.A. in Education and Ph.D. in Communication at Stanford. She has been a professor at UCLA and UC Davis, specializing in cross-cultural health communication and publishing widely in this area. Rina lives in Berkeley with her husband; they have a son, 26, and a daughter, 19.

susan antolin’s poetry appears regularly in poetry journals and has won several awards. She is a non-practicing attorney and mother of three young children living in Walnut Creek, California, where she writes in between swim meets and soccer games, at red lights, and in the occasional quiet of her kitchen. She is working on an individual collection of short poems. For more information,

maureen martin appel is a fourth-generation Californian who lives in Oakland amid the ghosts of her Irish ancestors. She has written for Nine Lives, the oral history project of the San Francisco–based Eldergivers, and also for the food section of the Contra Costa Times. A longtime docent at the UC Botanical Garden, she is currently teaching her new grandson the names of her favorite trees.

marcie beyatte is a breast cancer survivor/activist and the founder of “Cancer in So Many Words,” a program created to encourage cancer survivors to write about their experiences. She is currently working on a number of fiction projects.

ronnie caplane is an attorney, Piedmont School Board member, and commissioner on the Compensation Appeals Board. From ’97 to ’03 she wrote the column “Under Construction” for Oakland’s Montclarion. She has two children.

swathi desai was born in India and raised in the United States. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. After a 12-year career as a women’s accessories designer, she is now a full-time mother. She dreams about the day when she will have time to compose more than the grocery list.

diana divecha savors cross-cultural family life in Berkeley with her Indian-born husband and two teenage daughters. A developmental psychologist, she finds that her favorite topics to write about are, naturally, children, families, and the process of change and growth. Thanks to Wednesday Writers, she is a frequent contributor to The East Bay Monthly.

Using personal experience as her subject, kathleen faraday co-wrote the column, “DoubleTalk,” for ten years for the Contra Costa Sun. She has lived in the Philippines, Australia, Korea, and Hong Kong and all across the U.S. from Winnemucca, Nevada and Boise, Idaho to New York and Alabama. Piano and golf lessons, hiking, biking, skiing, and cooking are squeezed in between her job with BioView, USA, a molecular diagnostic company, and time with her six grandchildren.

elizabeth fishel has led the Wednesday Writers workshop for 15 years and added a Friday Writers group four years ago. She has also taught at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and for many years at the University of California/Berkeley Extension. For more information, The author of four books—Sisters, The Men in Our Lives, I Swore I’d Never Do That, and Reunion—she has written widely for magazines including Vogue, Oprah’s O, Redbook, Parents, Family Circle, The New York Times Book Review, and has been a Contributing Editor at Child. She lives in Oakland with her husband, and they have two sons.

leah potts fisher is a psychotherapist and consultant on work/family balance. Married with two grown children, she has long been fascinated, professionally and personally, with the challenges and complexities of relationships. Currently, she is on sabbatical, traveling the world on her own, with visits and warm support from her husband.

mary ford is a mother, professional vocalist, and psychologist. She lives in Berkeley with her husband Rob and son Dan. Her other interests besides writing include dancing, meditating, and telling shaggy dog jokes.

linda goldfarb is an accidental vintner with her husband Steve, a recovering attorney. They left the “simple” life in San Francisco to pursue the hectic life in Napa Valley, making Cabernet at their winery, Anomaly Vineyards, in St. Helena, California. For more information, Linda’s stories have appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, El Cerrito Journal, and Pet Companion, among others. Linda has three rescued dogs, three sons, one daughter, and two grandchildren.

jeanne halpern is a writer, editor, college professor, communications consultant, wife, mother, widow, grandmother, domestic partner, friend. Her writing has appeared in Parents’ magazine, The New York Times, Woman’s Day, and many academic journals. Of her four books, her favorite is a biography of her husband, who died when her children were quite young, written for their high school graduations.

trish hawthorne loves architecture, old houses, and researching local history as well as tracking down the perfect gingersnap. A graduate of UC Berkeley, she worked as a teacher before becoming an independent college adviser. As such, she helps students find the recipe for the right college match.

terri hinte was born in New York and “actualized” in California, where she has studied and intermittently practiced astrology, feng shui, I Ching, Tarot, massage, Feldenkrais, yoga, Pilates, horseback riding, dog training, bike repair, photography, horticulture, Portuguese, Czech, French, Italian, German, gospel singing, classical piano, samba and salsa dancing, tango, and writing. By day, she is a music publicist. For more information,

On any sunny day, you can find melanie johnston roaming the East Bay hills with her Bernese Mountain Dog, Abby, and her Pug puppy, Floyde. The work that she writes on rainy days has appeared on television, radio, and in the San Francisco Chronicle. She recently published a memoir called What My Father Saw. For more information, She is currently working on a novel, Canines for Christ.

suzanne la fetra’s writing has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle magazine, Working Mother, several literary journals, and on KQED-FM. She lives in northern California with her family, and is at work on a memoir.

marian magid was a consultant in public relations and strategic planning, a contributing writer for several Bay Area newspapers, and an avid community volunteer. She was also an award-winning Director of Communications for both the Oakland Unified School District and the Contra Costa County Office of Education, representing 18 school districts. Her greatest love was her family: her husband Albert, three children, and six grandchildren. Marian died of cancer in 2007 at 72.

kerry messer is working on her first novel and, next to being a mother, finds writing to be the most rewarding and challenging adventure yet. Having begun as a one-year sabbatical from a career as an Executive Coach and Organizational Consultant, her writing has become a life-long journey of self-discovery and a perpetually renewing exercise in humility.

kristine k. mietzner earned a B.A. from the University of Washington and an M.S. in Education from California State University East Bay. She worked as a broadcast journalist in Alaska, raised a son and daughter, and taught in California public schools. Kristine welcomes personal experience stories for the book she is writing on thriving after divorce. She can be reached at

janis mitchell always meant to write someday and joining the Friday Writers has given voice to this intention. She has found great satisfaction from processing her life in the personal essay form. She is very grateful to be associated with Elizabeth and the dynamic women of this group. Janis lives in Berkeley with her husband John and daughter Molly.

dorothy moore lives with her husband, three children, and dog Daisy in Lafayette. She is an ICU nurse who swims whenever she can.

beatrice motamedi is a graduate of the Creative Writing program at Stanford University, and she has worked as a reporter, writer, and editor for various publications, including WebMD, Hippocrates, Newsweek, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Currently, she teaches English and journalism at Oakland Technical High School.

A transplanted New Englander enjoying life in the Bay Area, karen mulvaney is in the latter rounds of motherhood and taking stock of the upcoming years. After her mother’s death from cancer and her own cancer diagnosis, she found chronicling her experiences a way to relax, understand, and bring meaning to life’s joys and sorrows. She cherishes time with her friends and her growing family, which now includes five grandchildren.

Mary-Jo murphy is learning Spanish. She now knows that the translation of the name of the town where she lives means luck. Nearly four years ago she moved to Ventura from Oakland. Since then, her life has been a challenge and adventure. As a Diabetes Educator in a hospital for an underserved, mostly Hispanic population she listens, advises, teaches, and counsels. As a writer she observes.

christy myers is a painter who discovered she also loves to paint with words. During her travels in Italy, France, Mexico, and throughout the U.S., she has painted en plein air and kept journals of her trips. She is working on an illustrated account of such a trip to Paris, as well as a book based on her family history in and around San Francisco.

phyllis nagle, active alumna of the University of California, Berkeley, is a lifetime Bay Area resident. After shelving her MBA, obtained for a former career in business, she sought out Wednesday Writers and is now writing full-time. Phyllis has contributed to Knight Ridder and Adams Media publications. Her favorite summer reunion is at Lair of the Bear with her all-Cal family and six young grandchildren.

ellen newman is a San Francisco–based freelance writer and public relations specialist for the San Francisco Design Center. She writes about interior design and her experiences during a six-month trip to Southeast Asia.

patty northlich was born in New York City. She received a B.A. in Political Science from Northwestern University. She lived in France and Switzerland before marrying a Marine Corps aviator and eventual computer scientist, whose career has kept them in the San Francisco Bay area for 35 years. Patty is the mother of a son and daughter, both performing artists, who live in New York City. Her passions are swimming and tap dancing.

Born in the Northeast with a longing for the West, trena noval now lives in California. For the last ten years she was a contributing editor and writer for an arts journal, but lately she has been focusing her writing time on other pursuits, such as family and exploring life from behind the wheel of her car. She was recently part of the Nine Lives, Vol. 2: Writing With Elders life stories project for the Bay Area.

risa nye is Associate Director of College Counseling at Oakland’s Head-Royce School and author of Road Scholar, A Journal for the College Bound Student. She is a volunteer tutor at 826 Valencia in Francisco, and her essays and articles have appeared in several publications. ?She is the co-editor of Writin’ On Empty: Parents Reveal the Upside, Downside, and Everything In Between When Children Leave the Nest. For more information, Risa lives with her husband in Oakland. Her father, Sam Elkind, always told her she should be a writer and would not be at all surprised.

christine parsons weaves humor and heart into family-centered narratives. Her essays have been published in the San Francisco Chronicle, East Bay Monthly, Oakland Tribune, and Orange County Register and in the book In Real Life: Powerful Lessons from Everyday Living. She received an MFA from St. Mary’s College of California and lives in Danville with her husband and children.

karen l. pliskin lives in Oakland with her husband and daughter. She has a Ph.D. in Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University, and more than a decade’s experience on the faculty of the University of California San Francisco. Karen left academia to pursue creative writing and art, and wishes government policy-makers would listen to her.

lori rosenthal is a marketing consultant, wife, mother of two teenage daughters, and consummate volunteer whose greatest writing pleasure is to capture the humor embedded in daily life. Lori especially appreciates the fact that the computer keyboard never talks back and doesn’t need rides home from BART or soccer practice.

kate ruddle is a writer, performer, and exhibiting artist in the Bay Area. She received her MFA in Sculpture from the San Francisco Art Institute and currently teaches drawing at Las Positas College in Livermore. Originally from Connecticut, she drove to California with her dog in 1992. For more information,

Born in New York to Greek parents, irene sardanis is a clinical psychologist in private practice. She lives with her husband in Oakland. Irene’s first published piece appeared in 2003 in the Psychotherapy Networker.

laura shumaker lives in Lafayette, California with her husband Peter and their three sons. She is a regular contributor to NPR Perspectives and has also published in the San Francisco Chronicle, The Autism Perspective, the Contra Costa Times, and Guideposts magazine. She recently published a memoir about life with an autistic son, A Regular Guy. For more information,

martha slavin is continuing her cyclical life: artist, teacher, writer, wife, mother, community worker, traveler. After spending five years living in Japan and France meeting the challenges of new languages and cultures while maintaining a stable family environment, she and her family (husband Bill, 18-year-old son Theo) are back in the U.S.A. adjusting to the reverse cultural shock of coming home. These experiences are now the focus of her writing.

joan stevenson relishes the hours she can call her own since waving goodbye to the 9-to-5 grind and saying hello to Social Security. Her writing takes a reflective look at her roles as a daughter, wife, mother, and aging crone.

sarah weinberg grew up in New York City. She received her B.A. in anthropology from Ohio Wesleyan University, and also holds a master’s degree in clinical social work from Columbia University. She has a full-time private practice, and autobiographical writing is one of her sub-specialties. Her writing has appeared in Becoming Whole: Writing Your Healing Stories.

karen yencich is an advertising/marketing professional, freelance writer, and mother of two living in Berkeley.

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