Rita Plush lives and writes in Queens, New York. Her writing practice includes both fiction and nonfiction. She is the author of Lily Steps Out (Penumbra Publishing 2012), and the short story collection, Alterations (Penumbra 2013). She is the book reviewer for the Fire Island News.
Rita is a frequent contributor to the popular blogs, Boomer Cafe, Best Chick Lit, and Dames of Dialogue.
During her forty-year career as an interior designer, Rita was the Coordinator of the Interior Design Decorating Program at Queensborough Community College, Continuing Ed. She continues on the faculty teaching classes in interior design and a creative writing workshop called, "Object Lessons." A sought after speaker, Rita has presented at libraries and synagogues, at Hofstra University and CW Post Hutton House, on topics ranging from writing and publishing, the decorative arts, interior design, and "Coco Chanel ~ The Woman--The Legend."
Frequently interviewed on blog talk radio, she read a segment from Alterations on "The Author's Corner." for Public Radio, and has also guested on "The Writer's Dream," LTV, and "The Amy Beth Arkway Show."
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 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 loving 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