Susan Berliner has caught a moment. In fact, she has captured many wonderful, quirky moments in her new memoir “Doing the Write Thing.”
The longtime Yorktown resident has penned personal and memorable snapshots into short stories that ring out like charming exclamation points. These splices of life stories are a departure for Berliner who has written multiple supernatural thrillers and off-beat short stories.
“Doing the Write Thing” is a compendium of Berliner’s reflections on childhood, family and the multilinear trajectory of her writing career as a newspaper reporter, editor, promotions manager and nonfiction writer. She said she surprised herself with her latest effort, her first autobiographical book.
“I never thought I’d be a novelist,” she said. “I never thought I’d write short stories or even a book with a sequel. And I certainly never thought I’d write a memoir.”
The short quips in Berliner’s new book grew out of longhand jots in a journal, diary entries and occasions that piqued her interest and stirred her thoughts – short posts that seemed to beg for a story.
“You live a whole life and you have things that happen,” Berliner explained. “Bar Mitzvahs, funerals, little incidences that I found interesting.”
One short story, entitled Growing Up “W,” is Berliner’s struggle as a youngster whose last name began with a “W,” placing her at “the end of everything in school…floundering at the bottom of the alphabet.”
That ended when she married Larry Berliner; her last name changed and she fully embraced being a “B.”
“I just wrote this (book) pretty much chronologically from my childhood, growing up, meeting my husband, having my kids and my life as an author,” Berliner said. “These are memories that I cherished and thought about. Some are humorous.”
The 30 short stories in “Doing the Write Thing” include scenes from a Hasidic Bar Mitzvah (The Goyisher Table), socializing at a college house plan party (When Susan Met Harriet), almost losing her job – twice (Ready, Aim—Fire?) and her book-signing escapades (The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly). Another story is how her parents met after both escaped persecution in World War II.
Berliner also writes how she was assigned to cover fashion during a Mets Opening Day at Shea Stadium. At that time, it was tradition to hold a fashion show parade on the field. Recalling how it was cold and raining, Berliner said, “They wouldn’t let me out on the field even though I had a press pass. It was because I was a woman. I was outraged. Today women reporters are everywhere.”
“Doing the Write Thing” is a satisfying little book one can pick up, read a story or two, put it aside or cruise through a bunch of chapters.
“This is light reading,” said Berliner. “I wrote it because I enjoyed what I was writing.”
“Doing the Write Thing” can be purchased through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. To learn more about Berliner’s books, visit www.susanberliner.com.
Abby is a local journalist who has reported on breaking news for more than 20 years. She currently covers community issues in The Examiner as a full-time reporter and has written for the paper since its inception in 2007. Read more from Abby’s editor-author bio here. Read Abbys’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/ab-lub2019/