A brief bio for people who knew me long ago. If you are looking for Leila Abu-Saba, here I am.
I live in Oakland, California, having moved here from New York City in the autumn of 1993. (If you must know, I was following a guy, but we broke up right away). I'm married to David and mother to two boys. Email me privately for more details.
I'm in grad school at Mills College, getting an MFA in fiction (English). For those of you who knew me in the 80s, yes, I dropped out of some of the finest schools in the country, including Oberlin College and the Seminar College (now Eugene Lang) of the New School. If you think you know me from Hunter College or Washington University, you probably do. I also misspent a semester in Cairo at AUC, where I met my first husband.
Finished my B.A. at San Francisco State University in the 1990s. Worked at the California Culinary Academy for several years; met and married David, a former musician and comedy improv guy who is now a Java Web developer. I changed careers and trained software end-users for several years, then quit to have my children. The tech boom has been good to us. We aren't living like princelings but we are prosperous and happy, and I can stay home with the kids and go to grad school. In the Bay area that is saying something.
My parents moved here from Beirut, Lebanon in 2002, bought a townhouse 20 minutes from us. They help with the children and were full-time support when I needed them in the last year (see below). My mother-in-law lives in Berkeley, twenty minutes in the other direction, and we see her often as well. Backing up for those of you who know my parents - after the civil war ended in Lebanon, in 1991, my parents began visiting there. My mom soon got a teaching position at the American U. of Beirut. They lived there for something like nine years before coming to California.
Some bad news, worst first. I was diagnosed with breast cancer July 2004; mastectomy & reconstruction Sept. 2004, chemo November-February. Lost my hair, natch. Ifeel good. Look fine. Nodes negative, ER positive if that means anything to you. Prognosis pretty good. Hair came back. I quit dyeing it and even trimmed it once to keep that stark crew cut minimalist look. Now I'm growing it out and moussing it to make tousled curls as opposed to its natural bushy state. I am in pretty good shape overall and am dealing with the aftermath. Getting cancer is what inspired me to go to grad school - a lifelong dream seemed suddenly too important to put aside.
Other trouble we've had around here - (snipped details of my children's medical issues. It's not my place to discuss their stuff in public) The kids' issues help me keep my mind off the troubles of the world.
I'm working on a novel and some short stories; looking forward to workshop with Yiyun Li this spring. This blog has been a fun outlet, as well. It has brought me news of old friends, for one thing. If you were looking for me and found me here, welcome! Email me at leilasab at yahoo dot com. I'd love to hear from you.
Recent photos at Flickr.
Update as of November, 2006: So sorry to add that my father, Elias Abu-Saba, died suddenly of lung cancer on September 28, 2006. He was not diagnosed until two months before his death. Read about it here. I miss him and love him and am grateful for his life with me. I am very lucky to have been his daughter.