Julie Wittes Schlack is a writer, teacher, and innovation specialist. After spending several years as a labor organizer, garment worker, and psychiatric aide, she meandered into a series of jobs that married technology with writing, typically at the behest of corporate clients. Eventually she became an accidental founder of C Space, one of the first online community companies. Now ready to retire from the fascinating but enervating dance of corporate advancement, Julie is devoting more time to telling stories and helping others – particularly teens and the elderly – to make meaning of their lives through narrative.
In a writing class years ago, she was asked to write about the authors she admired as if they were her family members offering her advice. Here’s what she scribbled:
“Be brave,” Margaret Atwood murmurs in my ear. She’s the outrageous aunt, impossibly petite for my family, who drops in long enough to fire up my imagination and ire, then disappears again.
“Be thorough,” my distant great-aunt, George Eliot, reminds me. “People are not simple and they are usually heartbroken by their own dreams. Be thorough, but be kind.”
“Be still,” Tillie Olsen says, “and listen, digest, refine, and boil down to the essence. Then speak, with absolute fidelity.”
“Do your homework,” reminds Uncle E.L. Doctorow. “Write about what you know, sure, but know more.”
“Get mad,” step-brother Russell Banks quietly exhorts. “There are people suffering, and their hells are not entirely of their own making.”
“Don’t get mad, get even,” corrects Phillip Roth.”Savagely but clearly dissect and expose. Leave nobody immune from your critical eye, not even yourself. Especially not yourself.”
And then my mother, my grandmother, my heroine, Grace Paley chuckles, throws her arms around me, gives me a big smoochy kiss, and says, “Have fun. Live a generous life. Do the right thing. Screw up, and be glad you had the chance. Then take another chance.”
Julie has an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University. Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals such as Shenandoah, The Writer’s Chronicle, Ninth Letter, and The Tampa Review, and she also writes regularly for the business press (including The Harvard Business Review Online, Mashable, and Marketing Week). She is a former book reviewer for The Boston Globe, currently reviews books for The ARTery, and is a regular contributor to Cognoscenti, National Public Radio station WBUR’s journal of ideas and opinions.
She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her husband, and is the mother of two adult daughters in whose lives she never meddles.
Regal House Publishing and Pact Press are delighted to bring you Julie Wittes Schlack’s Hope and Satellites in 2019.