A few years ago, I decided to take a Fiction I class because I wanted to write and knew I had no idea what I was doing. My instructor was the very excellent Michael Backus who was unbelievably thorough and patient with my first submission, which was, I admit, completely incomprehensible. My second assignment however consisted of making a list of things I remember from a place where I grew up. This led to a story about the first apartment I lived in with my parents after we immigrated from what was then the Soviet Union. And that story has now been published in an anthology called HIAS@130: 1+30: the Best of myStory, a collection of 30 short stories and 1 poem.
I was stupefied to find myself in the company of such other writers as Gary Shteyngart and Lara Vapnyar, both of whom I admire greatly.
In yet another surreal twist, Newsday (a Long Island newspaper) asked me for an interview after finding out about the anthology, and today I not only got to participate in an amazing and moving book launch, but found myself featured in a two-page spread in the newspaper.
I have taken many Gotham classes since that first one, with Michael and with Russell Rowland, another wonderful teacher, and I can't express how helpful and illuminating they've been.