Sometime trial attorney and perennial procrastinator, presently novelist, short story writer, and essayist, I’m the author of the multiply translated The Writer’s Brush, Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture by Writers, which The New York Times Sunday Book Review described as “sparkling audaciously on every page,” and which the American Libraries Association called “a grand feat of research and interpretation.” My first novel, The Hand Before the Eye, black comic and shot through with religious themes—praised by Publishers Weekly for “its impassioned finale of spiritual redemption,” was a Vanity Fair Hot Type Recommendation. You’re My Dawg, Dog: A Lexicon of Dog Terms for People, has brought pleasure equally to dog and word lovers.
I was born in Philip Roth’s neighborhood, the Weequahic section of Newark, New Jersey, but did most of my growing up in suburban South Orange. There, at ten, I enrolled in private art classes and began oil painting which continued through high school.
At Washington University, St. Louis, where, apart from occasional cartoon contributions to the college paper and private sketching, my art career came to an end, and my creative impulses were mainly expressed in fiction writing. It was then that I sensed a connection between the urge to draw and paint and to write, but had no idea what it could be. When I ran across a reference to D. H. Lawrence’s paintings it made an impression; as did a book of Henry Miller’s watercolors that someone gave me not long after.
In the years that followed graduation, after I’d gotten my J.D. from Rutgers Law School and an L.L.M. from New York University Law School, had started practicing law, married and raised two children, I continued to make notes about writers who were artists from which The Writer’s Brush eventuated. I also began to study fiction writing and to write in the early morning before going to work. Now I have three novels under my belt and a fourth in the works.