Author Bio

Wanting it All

By Katrina Stonoff

Most people order an entrée. Me? I prefer the smorgasbord.

I want it all. I want to taste every dish, hear all the music, try everything once.

One of my dearest friends is a poet. She says one must search for the perfect word, that if you find it, you won't need any others.

But I say, there are 700,000 words in the English language! How could you choose just one? How, for example, does one decide between invigorating or enlivening? Enthralling or enchanting? Heck, between turquoise and ultramarine, for that matter?

I've lived my life by the smorgasbord too. Professionally, I have pollinated cotton and raised leafhoppers (yes, they are insects; why do you ask?). I "pulled" calves with a pickup truck and used a slinky to teach earthquake dynamics to high school freshmen. I sold exclusive photos of a military helicopter crash to Associated Press.

On a personal level, I've been stunt flying in a WWI biplane and flown an F-18 simulator. I birthed three children at home with a midwife and attended five other births. I canoed Class 5 rapids in Missouri and wept through Tristan and Isolde at Carnegie Hall. I danced the polka, the Viennese Waltz, and the Cotton-eyed Joe.

I shook hands with presidents and entertainers, and sang backup with Diana Ross at the Super Bowl Half-time Show (well, in a 1,000-voice choir).

Among other oddities, I have eaten fried okra and grits, crème brulee, and cassata siciliano gelato. And octopus, rattlesnake and Rocky Mountain Oysters. I have cooked planked salmon with a cranberry-maple crust, and smoked beef brisket for hours over a grill. I have made bread and yogurt, cottage cheese and soap (real soap, from lye, and fat I rendered).

I taught myself HTML and designed several websites (yes, they were rudimentary). I can weld (both arc and oxy-acetylene) and shoe a horse. And tat and quilt and knit.

Now? I sit quietly at home and write. But somehow I suspect I'm not done gorging at the buffet.

After all, I've never snowmobiled in Antarctica or folk danced in Bulgaria. And I want to learn to paint. And play the harp. And conquer Cascading Style Sheets…