Author. Innovationist. Advocate. Survivor. Rebel.
Growing up in Poland, I swam in the Baltic Sea at 50F, stayed in villages that still used oil lamps, and yearned for oranges, which were available only at Christmas time. I was surrounded by music from an early age and almost became a pianist. An unruly child, I got in trouble for giving friends haircuts with nail scissors, talking in class, and trying to set a toilet on fire. From a tiny apartment in the center of Warsaw (think family of four in 380 square feet), I witnessed communist tanks pointed at people and survived a violent military coup.
My love of languages and cultures lured me to America with one backpack and a few dollars to my name, but what sealed my stay was the love of my boyfriend-turned-husband, a political refugee who had dared speak truth to power as a journalist in Poland.
After a brief stint making hoagies and being a dental assistant, I landed a job as a medical translator and got a graduate degree at Penn. This opened the door to corporate America where, eventually, I discovered life in the fast lane.
For two decades, I raised three wonderful kids, flew the world over, advised CEOs, and helped design treatments for incurable diseases. But the higher I climbed the slippery corporate ladder, the more I felt I was living someone else’s life. Constrained by political correctness and designer attire, I fantasized about creative writing.
Then one day in 2008, I was told I had six months to live, courtesy of a vicious GI cancer with terrible survival statistics. For the next five years, I fought seven relapses, disposed of several organs, and experimented on myself due to lack of relevant treatment guidelines. Miraculously, I was declared healthy in 2012 and am among less than 1% of survivors for this type of cancer. This prolonged tête-à-tête helped me clarify what's important: I had started to write short stories from the chemotherapy chair.
I enjoy writing essays about people and places, with all of their quirks and beauty: from sleepy Polish villages to bustling urban beehives; from tango addicts to animal hoarders; from salt-of-the-earth women in flowery babushkas to starchy executives at their mahogany desks. I also write plays, op-eds and advocacy pieces on topics close to my heart.
My newest stage script about the infinitely fascinating lives of Romantic composers will be staged in Philadelphia on January 26th and 27th, 2019, in conjunction with a concert by Fine Art Music Company. I am currently working on part two of the script (to be staged in March 2019), finalizing a feature-length play, and working on a book, 50 Deeds, about a year-long project of hard-earned gratitude, prompted by a promise made to my oldest son.