daughter of a sea captain and a Buddhist psychotherapist. She was first employed as a chambermaid, and subsequently worked as a boatyard hand, babysitter, and dishwasher at a slew of seafood restaurants, despite the fact that she is a lifelong vegetarian, and probably the only person raised on Cape Cod who has never tasted lobster. Despite this luminous resume, the things she has spent most of her time doing, and the only things she has ever been arguably qualified to do, are write, read, and talk (a little) about books. At 15, she dropped out of high school and home-schooled herself for a year. At 16, she moved to Boston and waited tables while taking night classes at Harvard. After moving to New York in 1999, she graduated from The New School University, spent four years working as a professional dominatrix, and received an MFA in writing from Sarah Lawrence College. She has now lived in Brooklyn for over a decade.
She co-curates and hosts the popular monthly music and reading series, Mixer, on the Lower East Side, and teaches writing and literature at SUNY Purchase College, NYU, & The New School, in addition to offering private editing and instruction.
Her essays, stories, journalism, and the occasional poem have been published widely, and her memoir, Whip Smart, was published by St. Martinís Press/Thomas Dunne Books in March 2010. She is currently at work on a novel about music, madness, and dioramas.
Find Melissa on:
Press and Interviews
Melissa on Facebook
WHIP SMART on Facebook
Melissa's Author Page at Macmillan
Interview on NPR's Fresh Air
A Q&A with Melissa about