I have always written, yet almost never thought about publishing. Perhaps this is because I was in academia for so long, languishing over my doctoral dissertation (in literature). Or because I left academia to write about dead people, as an obit writer in the gritty South, and then to writ e about people trying to avoid being dead, as a criminal court reporter. I also wrote , filmed and produced documentary films, screened internationally . But then I was lured back to my academic cave to teach writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) , where I’ve had the privilege of mentoring others for the past 18 years . On leave now, I am collaborating on an opera with a talented composer, and on a memoir that my 27-year-old son, who died two years ago, had proposed writing together .