I am Stephanie Hart. For many years I taught writing at the Fashion Institute of Technology and Parsons the New School for Design in New York City.
My essays have appeared in anthologies and literary magazines, including And Then, The Sun, and Jewish Currents, and I am the author of the young adult fiction novel, Is There Any Way Out of Sixth Grade?
Mirror Mirror: A Collection of Memoirs and Stories is made up of a series of fast-paced vignettes about pivotal moments in my life. For me, writing has always been an exciting process of discovery, a way of learning about myself and others. I love language. My descriptions are vivid. I bring sounds, sights, smells, and textures alive in a way that involves readers in my stories and also reminds them of their own experiences. I would love to hear and respond to your comments about individual stories and the book as a whole.
A Collection of Memoirs and Stories
That night at our ryokan, a small, traditional, Japanese hotel on a narrow street in Kyoto, I lay awake on my tatami mat, letting the ancient and modern spirit of Japan wash over me. I thought about my connection to my own past. I wondered if the fierce determination of my grandfather and great-grandfather that impelled them to leave Russia during a time of Jewish persecution and make a new life in America lived inside me.
I wondered if my mother's creative spirit now belonged to me along with my father's dreams of achievement. I wondered how I could find my own path to enlightenment, allowing me to embrace life and face death with courage and equanimity. I wondered how I could continue to grow in love and tolerance so that my friendships could flourish and David and I could remain life partners.
I wondered how the intuitive sense of what I thought and felt could become louder than any other voice. I realized that I didn't. have the answers to many of these questions. I also knew that I would continue to ask them.
What People Are Saying
Beautiful, true, nostalgic Jewish family and a modern life in transition
Simply outstanding, beautifully written, moving, entertaining, true vignettes of a Jewish family, and associated interesting scenes in the author's own life. Rings true and clear -- you will feel you have honestly met a very interesting person up close after reading this book. I couldn't put it down.
Each story that she tells, in turn, vividly captures the most important, most traumatic, most wonderful, most pensive, most informing moments of her life. And who are we but a collection of all those moments? Beautifully written and mostly in chronological order, her first memory begins at the dinner table with her parents. The short, simple sentences in the Early Years section reflect a child's innate understanding of the tension in her family and the presentiment of things to come. The language and sentence structure matures as Hart does, and along the way, Hart draws us closer by time-stamping her life with pivotal memories that many of us share, i.e. Kennedy's election, his assassination, the opening of West Side Story, the New York skyline before the fall of the towers, the Vietnam war protests, the nation's fixation with the quirky soap opera, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.