BIO (WITH DOGS)
Jessica was born in Boston. Her father was a graduate student and her mother was staying home with Jessica and her older sister, Becca. They had a dog named Growlie. Jessica doesn't remember Growlie. They also had a Chevie that Jessica's parents bought for twenty-five dollars. It had a hole in the floor. Jessica doesn't remember the car or the hole, but she thinks about that hole often-how cool it would be to look down and see the road swooshing by like a fast-moving stream.
When the family moved to Southern California (Jessica now had a little brother, Josh), they adopted a dog named Mitzi. Mitzi was old and grey. She looked like a dog who would hang out in a bar, drink whiskey and chain smoke unfiltered cigarettes. She looked like she'd have a raspy, barking laugh that would disintegrate into a cough. Mitzi gave birth to a litter of pups. They were all black except one, Gumba, who grew to resemble a matted, orange shag rug. Josh carried Gumba around whenever he could and he often dropped her on her head. This is why, the family thinks, Gumba was so dumb. Gumba was like the girl in the neighborhood who would do anything you told her to do. If you told her to eat a snail off the sidewalk, she'd pop that snail in her mouth then follow you down the street chomping the shell that made noises louder than potato chips. Mitzi ran off into the lemon orchard behind Jessica's house sometime after Gumba was born. It was assumed she died there. Gumba died of old age when Jessica was in college. This was very sad for everyone. Even though Gumba was a very dumb girl, she was a loveable dumb girl.
Before Gumba died, Jessica and a boyfriend impulsively got a dog named Fritz who looked like a smallish German Sheppard. Fritz was a girl, but they liked the name. They took Fritz to Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri where they were camp counselors for the summer. When they returned they give Fritz to Jessica's mother who loved her well until her death of old age.
After college, Jessica and her new husband (who were living in Berkeley where they went to school) got a black lab named Giusi. The dog was named after a guy they met in Italy who had a daughter named Giusi. Giusi galloped around the house like a wild mustang, slept on the white couch when they were out of the house and chewed furniture. When they moved to Canada they gave the dog to an uncle in Ventura to keep until they had found a house. The dog ran away before they found the house and neither Jessica or her husband were too sad about it (although they both hoped that the dog was happily frolicking on the beach and chewing driftwood).
In Canada Jessica started writing for the first time in her life. She also got a dog named Moses. Moses was black and sleek and had a hound's yowl. Jessica loved Moses in spite of the fact that he chewed the legs of the kitchen chairs and once chewed through a seatbelt and a seat in the car. Moses was the fastest runner in Withrow Park in Toronto. Each time a group of dog owners stood at the top of the hill for dog races, each owner throwing a ball for their dog, Moses would win (there are other dogs and dog owners who would disagree with this, but this isn't their bio page-whoever types it first gets the last word). When Jessica had a baby, she and her husband gave away Moses to a man who ran every morning and wanted a running partner in dog form. The other dog owners in the park thought it was creepy that Jessica and her husband traded in the dog for a baby. Some of them gossiped about it. Jessica ignored them.
When she lived in Baltimore (where she went to graduate school at Johns Hopkins) with her second husband, David, Jessica thought it was time for a new dog. A friend gave her an enormous, horsey, black lab named Jordan. Jessica's younger daughter looked at Jordan and said in her tiny, baby voice, "You're not Jordan, you're Georgie." Georgie was faithful and kind and let the kid who named her ride on her back and slide across the wood floor while hanging on to her tail. She was old when they got her, and very old when she died on her favorite down sleeping bag in the middle of the living room where she had insisted on spending her final days. Before Georgie died, Jessica wanted a transitional dog for Georgie to train. She figured the new dog would do whatever Georgie did, and Georgie was a perfectly behaved lady. David was resistant to a new dog, but on Hanukah (before Georgie died), David's brother, Ira, gave Jessica a small, white, toy poodle named Pippa. The whole family, including Georgie but not including David, fell in love with her. David didn't like her because he thought poodles were showy and embarrassing. After her first haircut, Jessica and Pippa were frolicking on the front lawn. When David pulled up in the car and saw the pink bows in Pippa's hair and the way her legs and tail were shaved, he backed up and drove away. Pippa has never had a haircut like that since. After Georgie died, David grew to love Pippa like a daughter. Or not quite a daughter. Maybe the way you'd love your best friend's daughter.
One Christmas, Jessica's mother's dog, a giant Rottweiler-Sheppard mix took a bite out of Pippa's head and punctured her eye which now looks like a foggy, blue marble. Pippa has become increasingly neurotic since losing the eye. The list of things she won't do has grown to this: Won't walk up or down the stairs. Won't walk past anything shiny or reflective (like the kitchen trash can). Won't walk over sewer grates. Won't let strange men pet her. Won't let big dogs sniff her butt. Jessica doesn't think the butt-sniff is much of a loss, but she finds it terribly inconvenient to have to carry the dog up and down the steps. Jessica hopes one day to get one of those old-lady chairs that ride the stairs. It would have to be non-reflective and not resemble a sewer grate, a strange man, or a big dog so that Pippa would be willing to use it.
RUNNING FROM VICE VERSA, a novel in progress
Brandt and Hochman Literary Agents, Inc. New York, NY
Baltimore School for the Arts, 826DC, CityLit Project.
© 2013 Red Room Omnimedia Corporation. All rights reserved.