Writers I Love:
Oscar Wilde, Georges Simenon, Colette, Robert B. Parker, John D. MacDonald, Helene Hanff, Sarah Ruhl, Norah Ephron, Jeanette Winterson, Billy Collins
Inspired to re-start my writing career as an indie publisher by:
Sculptor Louise Nevelson, who said, “I didn’t really hit my stride till I turned seventy.”
Biographical info from my forthcoming book, Short Form Funny:
“I once had a nightmare that I crossed the street and realized I was a Republican.”
Long-form info about me:
My full name is Cristina Luisa White. I was born in Manila, the Philippine Islands, in November 1941. My mother, Louise—also from Manila—was a professional seamstress, a fiercely proud American, and a life-long Democrat. My father, Ismael, was from Los Angeles and served as a Sergeant in the United States Army. He was killed in the Pacific near the end of World War II and was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart. I never knew him, but his whole family welcomed me with open arms when I arrived in the States.
I began writing at age eleven, making up ghost stories on the bus ride to and from school. It was that same year that I first experienced the magic of theatre, when my mother and stepfather took me to see the opera Hansel and Gretel. The house lights went down, the curtain went up, and I was hooked. My first play, a Halloween mystery, was produced by the Drama Club when I was twelve. With that early success, I figured it was smooth sailing from then on. Ah well, I was young.
An Army brat, I got involved with the local theatre wherever we were stationed. I continued reading plays, and writing them. I began earning income as a writer my first year in college, when an ambitious new children’s theatre troupe took me on as their company playwright. I wrote one play each year for the next four years, and supplemented the money needed for college expenses with royalties from the touring productions.
I have an MA Degree in Psychology from Sonoma State University and a BA Degree in Theatre Arts from San Francisco State University. I can claim three phases in my career: (1) Theatre director for independent, regional, and community theatres in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, New Haven, and Virginia; (2) College instructor in Theatre Arts and Psychology, Sonoma State University and Santa Rosa Junior College; and (3) Tai Chi teacher at Sonoma State Psychology Extension Program and the School of Expressive Arts, Sonoma State Hospital, and community centers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and greater Los Angeles area.
I’m now in the fourth phase: Full-time writer, part-time artist.
I’ve had two dedicated interests for most of my adult life: theatre arts and the healing arts. They continue to dominate and influence the work I pursue. Though my writing life has not been the smooth sailing I anticipated, I continue to write plays and poetry, stories and essays, memoir and now, a novel-in-progress. I figure if there’s no wind, row.
I need and keep constant in my life: books, music, laughter, fine art, and good movies. I am sustained by: the beauty of the natural world, my friendships, a sense of harmony in my home, and the joy of a life shared with my beloved Donna Jayne.
Words I Live By:
Keep calm and carry on.
“Easy reading is damned hard writing.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne
“I love writing. It’s the paperwork that gets me.” – Peter De Vries
What My Writing Life Feels Like:
“I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon, I put it in again.” – Oscar Wilde