About Laura Grey

laura

I’m a writer, editor, artist, viewer and reviewer, cultural commentator, musician, collector, explorer and sharer of discoveries.

I greatly prize creativity, curiosity, kindness and the drive to share knowledge and understanding. I want to make the world better and more beautiful, and to find ways to connect with others, to help them through their difficulties and encourage them to be sensitive to the needs of the people, animals and environment around them. Life is glorious, but it is also difficult; there is much pain in the world, and even the greatest, wisest, kindest and most successful among us live with daily fear and, too often, self-loathing. I want to help people around me to see the beauty, humor, delight and opportunity in the world and in themselves. I also want us to be able to look at the world honestly and openly together, to see each other as we are and be more accepting and tolerant of each other’s foibles and differences. That is why I’m here. And that’s why I’ll be sharing my thoughts, writing, art and discoveries with you in this space.

I grew up in a household in which learning was paramount, the arts were adored, curiosity was rewarded and talent was plentiful. Being surrounded by professional teachers, musicians and artists throughout my formative years, I was taught to take delight in learning and in spreading knowledge and discoveries around. I had an excellent education in the outstanding Californian public schools of the  pre-Proposition 13 era before funding for public education was gutted, and I studied history and art history at Mills College, the small liberal arts women’s college in Oakland from which I earned my BA. I had extensive musical training as a child and teen, and I performed frequently in various choirs and theatrical events in the Bay Area from the early 1970s to the late 1980s.

I have enjoyed a variety of jobs in R&D, publishing, academic environments, advertising and elsewhere over the past three decades, and I have traveled extensively, all of which have exposed me to many different ways of viewing the world and its people. I spent four years as assistant to the special collections librarians of the Albert M. Bender Collection of rare books and manuscripts at Mills College, glorying in preserving, displaying and sharing the collection’s exceptional array of rare books, manuscripts, maps and engravings. I marveled at these treasures as I pored over our Shakespeare First Folio, our Gutenberg Bible leaf and the letters of Charles Dickens, W.B. Yeats, Jane Austen and Samuel Clemens, among others. Holding these letters and manuscripts in my own hands helped me to remember that these legendary figures were once anonymous young writers with empty paper and mysterious futures before them—they were real people who created their masterpieces word by word in quiet libraries of their own. Being a caretaker of such precious items reminded me that while these faded sheets were now rare and precious academic relics, they had once been held by lively, creative, complicated people. Some people see old letters and antique clutter as signs of obsolescence and decay; I see them as reminders that the past once felt as vital and immediate to those living through it as our present seems to us today. I feel a thrill when bits and pieces of history help me to erase the years between now and then so I can feel closer to those whose thoughts and creations I cherish.

After college I spent seven years working at Apple Computer in the 1980s and 1990s and got to know some of the most exciting, delightful and interesting people I’ve ever met while I was there, people who continue to shape my world and enrich my life today. I have spent much of my adult life in the company of brilliant computer science professionals who emphasized facts, reason and problem-solving. After having spent much of my childhood surrounded by literature, music and the arts, it has been great fun to find ways to balance the data-heavy reasoning and research that have been a large part of my adult work life with the emotion-rich appreciation of the arts that I also crave. I particularly enjoy film and music criticism and the studies of art and history since these disciplines feed my need for both nerdy analysis AND emotionally-charged stories, since movies, songs, art and history are all essentially about telling stories in the most engaging way possible, aren’t they?

Because several of my dearest family members and friends have suffered with mental illness and substance abuse, I learned early in my life to empathize with them and help them work through their troubles, so I have found studying psychology, mental illness and psychotherapeutic modalities to be very helpful in understanding why those I love  suffered so, how I could help them, and what I could do to heal from the wounds they sometimes inflicted on me as a result of their own pain. I believe these studies have increased my empathy with others and have helped me to understand and better communicate with those who have experienced emotional turmoil.

I have loved and lived with brilliant people who taught me an enormous amount about their disciplines, passions and histories, many of which were vastly different from mine.  I have a natural propensity to burrow into subjects, to analyze and synthesize, to do deep research and ask myself over and over again why things are as they are, and how I can share what I’ve learned with others. With this website I hope to be a conduit for enthusiasm, empathy, open-mindedness and appreciation. I hope you enjoy my writings and discoveries. Thank you for sharing in this adventure with me.

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