I was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, almost sixty years ago to an Italian-American father and German-American mother. I grew up surrounded by my immigrant grandparents and a large extended family.

I started writing poetry in kindergarten on a chalkboard my parents put up on a wall of the bedroom I shared with my brother. I continued writing through high school and started our school’s first literary magazine. In college, I majored in English literature and creative writing and wrote a collection of short stories for my senior project.

My first career was in book publishing where most of my writing consisted of press releases and copy for the inside flaps of books. My second career was as a paralegal and department manager in intellectual property law, specifically trademark law. I left that profession about ten years ago to pursue a theology degree.

My husband, a former teacher, and I retired to an 1820 farmhouse in the Finger Lakes region of New York two years ago after several decades in the Boston area, where we raised our two children, now twenty-five and twenty-one.

Currently I am engaged in several lay ministries at my Episcopal church and involved in several civic and interfaith organizations devoted to civil and human rights in my community.

Much of my writing since college has been what I have come to call “tribute” pieces — poems and other writings focused on family and friends on the occasion of birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, weddings and funerals.

For years I have wanted to write more, particularly about family stories, politics and other issues that ignite my passions. I have never quite understood why I haven’t.

So here goes!

Debra Rose Brillati