The new buzzword in female sexuality is “sexual fluidity”—the idea that for many women, sexual identity can shift over time, often in the direction of same-sex relationships. Examples abound in popular culture, from actress Cynthia Nixon, who left her male partner of 15 years to be with a woman, to writer and comedienne Carol Leifer, who divorced her husband for the same reason.
In a culture increasingly open to accepting this fluidity, Dear John, I Love Jane is a timely, fiercely candid exploration of female sexuality and personal choice. The book is comprised of essays written by a broad spectrum of women, including a number of well-known writers and personalities. Their stories are sometimes funny, sometimes painful—but always achingly honest—accounts of leaving a man for a woman, and the consequences of making such a choice.
Arousing, inspiring, bawdy, bold, and heartfelt, Dear John, I Love Jane is an engrossing reflection of a new era of female sexuality.
1. How did the concept for Dear John I Love Jane come about?
When I ended my marriage and was trying to meet women, I felt a lot of suspicion from lesbians in my town who wondered if I was just experimenting. That was understandable. But, it made me feel another layer of being an “other.” I knew there must be others like me, but I didn’t know how to connect with them or to learn from their experiences. There were a couple of anthologies that were decades old and didn’t resonate with me. t decided to put together an anthology that would include modern stories of women leaving men for women, or coming out in midlife.
2. Tell us about your adventures in cooking. What are some of your favorite types of foods to make?
I love to cook big feasts during the holidays, or for dinner parties. Some of my favorite things to make are osso buco, risotto, roast chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy, baked eggs and polenta in ramekins. Many of the recipes are in Licking the Spoon: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Identity, (my foodie memoir) which came out from Seal Press after Dear John, I Love Jane.
3. What is one thing you want readers to get from your work?
Whether I’m writing about family or work or motherhood or sexual identity, I want readers to feel a sense of connection, recognition, that they’re not alone, that they’re well within the commonalities of being a human.
4. Are there any authors you feel have inspired your writing?
Absolutely! Joan Didion, Nora Ephron, Mona Simpson, Donna Tartt, Jonathan Lethem, Theo Pauline Nestor.
5. Do you write to music? If so, what?
I like writing to Maria Taylor, Natalie Walker. and Harold Budd (the latter provides low-key white noise kind of music that doesn’t jar me out of my flow).
6. Heels or flats?
Platform heels are fun. I have a desk treadmill at work, so I wear flats there. But it’s a lot of fun to wear heels for special occasions.
7. If I were your favorite cookie, what flavor would I be (and what would you dunk me in?)
My favorite cookies are: Milano from Pepperidge Farm, linzer tarts from Long Island Italian bakeries. I am not a dunker. I am very rigid about that!
8. Favorite place to vacation:
I love going to new places more than I like returning to familiar places. I want to go to Greece and Cuba; my maternal grandmother was born in Cuba, and my maternal grandfather’s parents came through Ellis Island from Crete. But I also want to go someplace relaxing that doesn’t have any cell phone or internet reception, where I’d be forced to unplug and really connect to the present moment.
9. Favorite movie:
I really enjoyed Hugo.
10. What project are you working on now?
I am writing a novel about two young women who have a profound, but unknown to them, connection.
This book blew me away. That is a wonderful thing. I can still remember seeing the cover and going …wow. DJILJ is going to be a powerful book. It was. It is. It made me laugh and cry and snort through my nose at times but one thing it did was show me a completely different side of lesbian life that I hadn’t really considered. Women can change who they love. They do it every day. It isn’t easy-for anyone. Especially if you are married to a man, have a family and all of a sudden your life shifts on its axis. There are “rules.” Even now with the world changing, if you step outside the line of what is social and politically accepted, there is a price to pay. These women paid it. Blood, sweat and tears…but they came out the other side and they are still standing.
These are the stories housed within this amazing book. It is funny and sad and so very, very real. This book made me realize that as women we have the power to be so much. To love who we choose and be the woman we are meant to be-whether that person is a man as society dictates, or a woman because it is a choice we have made.
The authors and contributors of these experiences deserve the highest marks for courage and the fortitude as they share their stories with the rest of us. You are the modern day heroines. You took your life and made it your own.
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