A writer and retired professor, I’m an amateur economist.  Amateur is generally not a word people want to claim for themselves, but as a lover of language, I ask you, why not? The root of this word is Latin: amo, amas, amat–I love, you love, he or she loves. An amateur loves what she’s doing.

So do I love economics? I can’t honestly say yes, but I do love deconstructing it.

I began to write about poverty, the dark side of economics, after my first hard lesson. A divorced single mom with a full-time job and three children to support, I couldn’t make it. In 1980, women were earning 59 cents to a man’s dollar in the marketplace. I qualified for welfare and needed it. Food stamps helped but carried a weight of shame.

Getting my BA degree, and after that an MFA in Writing, helped me become a journalist, an editor, a novelist, a grants writer and now a professor of Liberal Studies at Union Institute & University.  My novel, Second Sight, is still in print and available at Calyx Books. I’m also currently a contributing editor at Vermont Woman, a paper I helped found in 1985, which just won the New England Press Association’s top award for best monthly newspaper. You’ll find their links here.

Women today earn more to a man’s dollar, now 80 cents–but it isn’t all good news, since American men’s earnings on the world market have been shrinking as jobs get shipped overseas. Wages overall haven’t kept pace with increased costs, the reason two wage-earners are often necessary. I’m a grandmother now and you’ll see me write about my children and their families, too. Their separate work and family situations are each unique and intertwined with issues I write and teach about.

I wish economic issues were not so associated with gender, but they are–and until passionate people of both sexes come up with new economic solutions–and new language to describe and excite us, our planet and the richest, most valuable human work we do will continue to suffer. Think of Gaia and Eros as yin and yang, your in and out breath, the pulse of our living, loving lives.