Recording her life journey sent Marcia Weiss Posner time traveling; one set of memories led to the next. Marcia is a founding librarian of the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, a long-standing supporter of JBC, and frequent reviewer for Jewish Book World. Her autobiography, My Life in Post-Its; or How I Got From There to Here, is now available.
Carol Kaufman: What led you to write your autobiography?
Marcia Posner: An illness made it necessary for me to take an enforced vacation and I was able to get away from my harried routine and obligations. My daughter, Amy, insisted that I take it easy and did everything for me. So I wrote. I wrote all day, every day for five weeks and by the time we went home I felt better and I was no longer living in the present time. I had gone time traveling and I did not return to the present until close to the end. Taking ill made me realize that my children and grandchildren knew only a portion of who I was, so I decided to leave them a record of where I came from and what I had experienced over my lifetime, before it was too late.
CK: How did you know where to begin?
MP: "Who knew?" as they say. I just started at the beginning of my beginning and as the memories swept over me in a torrent, I allowed myself to return to those times. I wrote about whatever I remembered. The memories wrote themselves—they formed their own episodes and I kept writing them down.
For the first chapter, I relied mainly on what my cousin, Ted Solotaroff (z"l), the distinguished author, editor, and critic, had gleaned from questioning the one remaining member of my father’s family, Aunt Leah, currently 107 ½, when he was writing his autobiography, Truth Comes in Blows. By Chapter Two, I was four years old and had a keen sense of what was happening around me: trouble (the Depression). By age six, I was reading the newspapers and listening to the commentator Gabriel Heatter and the news on the radio. So what was happening to me was always set in a place and time frame.
CK: What was your writing schedule? Did you write every day?
MP: My granddaughter, Tamar Adler (who wrote An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace) expressed it best in her foreword to my book:
"Nanny’s pattern remained mostly unchanged. Each time a chapter had been painted and framed…another set of people, circumstances, years, houses, and cars would present itself. Opera and Broadway and ballet were wordlessly cast aside….Nanny just went on typing and typing."
CK: Why the title My Life in Post-Its?
MP: The title describes where I am now, much diminished but accepting, depending on scribbled notes to remind me of what or where I should be doing or going, and losing a lot of my former energy. But am I sad about it? Not at all. It gives me time to reflect and to write. I think that my book describes my sometimes accidental life journey and the excitement and pleasure I found in pursuing it, although I include the two tragedies of my life as well.
MP: I self-published with Xlibris and found them very pleasant to deal with. They have a step-by-step system and want you to promote your book and be involved in the process. As part of the package I took, they will publish my second book at no extra charge.
CK: What would you like readers to take away from your book?
MP: If my book teaches anything it's to follow your whims; don’t worry about not being prepared, just go for each new experience, and write about your life while you still can.
Carol Kaufman is the editor of Jewish Book World.