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My Life Starting with M

C. Lee McKenzie young

Modesto: I’m born in this California central valley town.

Move: San Diego, California. Beach, sun, people who surf. Definitely not a valley town.

Magic of reading: I’m hooked on the Magic of books. I’m willing to move to Mars as long as they have libraries.

Magic of writing: I’m good with words and decide I can write stories the way I like them.

Move, Metropolis of L.A: Actually, a bit outside in a place called El Monte.

Metropolis of Gilroy, California: Experience small culture shock in this Garlic Capital of the World. I’m fifteen. No picture can ever do me justice.

Move, Hong Kong: Double culture shock! This is not Modesto, and I’ve already forgotten what Gilroy looks like.

Move, Vientiane, Laos: I live on the Mekong. I drive behind carts attached to oxen. I try to learn Lao but my ears fail me. I can’t hear those tones. I get a lot of strange looks from the locals and my purchases aren’t exactly what I’d asked for. I resort to pointing. Gilroy improves with nostalgia.

Move, Long Island, NY: People from Hampton Bays don’t understand people from California. People from California don’t know this about people from Hampton Bays.

Move, Northern California: The Santa Cruz Mountains offer a haven from city congestion. People here “get” me, and everybody understands my language.

C. Lee McKenzie reading

Master of Arts, Linguistics: I’ve skipped grade school, high school, and under-grad years to dive into the final university years, at least what I think are the final years.

Maturity: This is still in process.

Marriage: This is still in process.

Maternity: Thank heaven this not happening anymore.

Money: I need money to buy diapers and to contribute to college funds. I go back to the university, but this time to teach and help develop an inter-cultural English language program for non-native speakers. Studies in American Language at San Jose State University enrolls students from over 30 countries. All those Moves are paying off.

Modesto. I pass through once in a while, so I haven’t really gone very far from where I started. At heart I’m a Californian, maybe even a Valley Girl who grew up and found out Dorothy was right. “There’s no place like home.”

My Passions: Besides reading and writing, I love to do two things: I love to hike. I love to practice Yoga. Well, three things if you count eating. I love to eat. That’s why I love to hike. Might as well make it four things, because I love to spend time with my family and friends. Wait! I love to grow my own salad. And cats—I love to grow them too, so now I’m up to six things I’m passionate about. I know there’s more, but I’m out of space and you don’t need to be bored.

C. Lee McKenzie hiking

My Favorite Books:

Anything with Hobbits.

Anything Stephen King writes, except I don’t like some of those stories at night when I’m alone or even if I’m not because I’m a real sissy in the dark.

Anything with a dragon in the title or on the cover.

Barbara Kingsolver’s books.

Edgy Joyce Carol Oates books.

E.B.White’s Essays, and stories that start, “Once upon a time . . . .”