Jeanne Koré Salvato

Jeanne Kore Salvato

I am a divided self, with loyalty to two stunningly different geographical environments.  First, I grew up amidst the remnants of the Ice Age in the Finger Lakes region in western New York.  My childhood took place in Canandaigua, my college at Cornell University on Cayuga Lake; and finally, I worked as an assistant to the president of a private college on Seneca Lake.  The dominant element here was, of course, water.  Glacial lakes, rivers, snow.

An adventurer at heart, I followed the lure of the west. There I encountered the desert and the sun, an entirely different sun from the northeast, more powerful, more temperamental, differences which I draw upon in my writing.  My first story, “Salvage Yard,” about a runaway in a junkyard who unearths a Vietnam vet’s diary, was published in Tucson in an anthology called Southwestern Women: New Voices. I was also busy studying English and graduated with an MA while teaching at an alternative high school in Tucson. (My principal cried, watching me inspire dubious writers to create fiction based on the news.)

Love intervened, and I married in Tucson, AZ, then travelled off to France where I became an editor in the archives of Sufi Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan. I continued teaching, first at the American School of Paris and then in a bilingual option at the heart of French public school, always inviting the students into the joys and rigor of creative writing.  A merry band of so-called troublemakers fell under the spell of my creative projects, and one of them won a short story contest.

There is an old proverb that the worker is hidden in the workshop.  During those 20 years in I became an apprentice writer. Brilliant writers in English (and other languages) gave readings at the Village Voice in the heart of Paris—a true pleasure.  I won a short story competition at Abbey Bookshop in Paris; I published a story called “Striking Distance” in Italian Americana; and I led engaging book discussions for Cornell at the American Library of Paris. Now there’s living the dream of a bookworm.

Now writing and family have called me back to my native NY, where I hope to develop a writing community. In the works:  first, a novel in linked stories, focusing on the ripple effects from a family tragedy. Second, a literary thriller about a young man who supposedly fell off the roof, but this cold case is increasingly suspicious.  Other projects include children’s stories and ideas for a novel where the life of a young woman from western NY intertwines with that of a Mexican scientist along the southern border.

My newest project is the weekly blog writing4godot.  Ah Godot, that mysterious, almost but not quite present person, the lure that inspires, hampers and—most importantly amuses those in his orbit.  We’ll pursue Godot; he will pursue us in posts featuring anecdotes from France, including books, and well, whatever!