Rita Plush lives and writes in Queens, New York. Rita is an interior designer, writer, lecturer and teacher of the decorative arts. She has spoken at libraries throughout Long Island, at Hofstra University and CW Post-Hutton House. She is the Coordinator of the Interior Design/Certificate Program in Continuing Education at Queensborough Community College. Her articles on interior design have appeared in Times Ledger Newspapers, distributed throughout Brooklyn, The Bronx and Queens. Her writing practice includes fiction and non-fiction, and her stories and essays have been published in many literary journals including The Alaska Quarterly Review, The Iconoclast, The MacGuffin and Passager. She is the author of Lily Steps Out (Penumbra Publishing May 2012), and most recently, the short story collection, Alterations (Penumbra Publishing 2013).
Story-telling is as natural as speaking and goes as far back as humankind. Stories link us, they connect us to our own lives and to the lives of others.
Isaac Bashevis Singer, the beloved Yiddish/American writer said, "If stories weren't told or books weren't written, we would live like the beasts, only for the day... the whole world, all human life, is one long story."
Alterations are my stories, a collection written over a period of twenty years, some of them harking back more than fifty years, stories that lived in me, the way stories do, as a bit of memory--a certain smell, the turn of a head, or the particular sound of a voice.
Decades later they called to me, the memories of them morphing, changing, altering, the people becoming characters who were and were not them. And I kept writing. I dressed my characters, gave them habits and particular way to speak, and put them down on the pages, wanting things they could not have, remembering things they wanted to forget. They ended and they sewed, they owned stores and boutiques, they jerry-rigged contraptions and carved dollhouse furniture. They dug in the dirt and planted tomatoes, they put together a jigsaw puzzle in a far off mountain cabin. Makers and fixers, they had the creative qualities derived from my parents and passed down to me.
Little girls and adolescents, a teenager, a father, a son, grown women, Alterations is about a whole slew of characters from different types of families and mindsets. Families that are broken and those that are healing, families my characters cling to, and those from which they run. And it is to that enduring notion of family life, with all its messy complications, its intrigues and dramas, its loving and sometimes mysterious bonds, that I dedicated Alterations--to the memory of my parents, Molly and Max Weingarten.
~Advance Praise for Alterations~
“All these pieces feel so immediate and alive –the voices, every detail—like memoir. They're intimate, and funny, and full of surprises. They’re big—about The Big Subjects—love , death, sex, loss and longing. A number of these stories are told from the point of view of a young child, sharp-eyed, all senses on high alert. I especially enjoyed "Love, Mona." The intimate, beautiful portrayal of grief and hope ends with a wordless gesture so tender and expressive I will never forget it.”
Mary Azrael: Editor Passager
“Among all the touching insights into a past that seems to haunt these stories by Rita Plush, I hear a character say, ”Tell me you understand.” Anxieties of not knowing or of not knowing how to make the other person understand tell the upsetting truths of these vivid fictions and create their curious momentum.”
Joseph McElroy, Author Night Soul and Other Stories and the forthcoming Cannonball
“Good and thoughtful stories that win the reader over. More truth than a reality show and more vivid than most fictions. The wants, needs, satisfactions—and yes, disappointments of the characters are recognizable from our own stories.”
Phil Wagner. Editor/publisher, The Iconoclast
“Rita Plush's short stories hold you on the edge of heartbreak. She writes eloquently of plucky children who have not been able to experience enough of childhood, but who weave tenderness out of whatever emotional threads they can string together.”
Maureen Brady, author of Follly and Ginger's Fire