A former Manhattan attorney, S.B. Lerner is the author of several published short stories and memoirs that have been compiled in the collection titled, In the Middle of Almost and Other Stories.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I recently went to a high school reunion, and when they took a group picture. I ended up in the front row, and I said to the guy sitting next to me, “Oh no! Now everyone will see me!” He laughed and said that I always was like that, always wanted to hide in the back. So I guess you might say I’m shy, or perhaps just wary. But over the years I’ve learned to put on a good act and if we met, we’d probably have a long, interesting conversation. I find people fascinating and love to hear their stories. I prefer that to talking about me, which is why I have a hard time answering this question and have been rambling. Tell me about you!
What made you first decide to become a writer?
I have always enjoyed writing, everything from essays and articles to fiction. I never exactly decided to become a writer. I just wrote.
Can you tell us about your latest book?
In the Middle of Almost and Other Stories is a collection of stories and memoir (those came from books I wrote about my parents) that were previously published in literary magazines and newspapers. It’s a collection of funny, poignant and bittersweet stories about busy young women who find men in all the wrong places (the garage attendant across the street, the stay-at-home dad in the playground, the younger man at the diner counter) and discover something about themselves in the process.
What inspired you to write it?
Some of the stories came from the period in my life when I was single, working in New York City, dating, and finding it all a bit overwhelming. I would get together with my friends and we would discuss our experiences in ways that were both entertaining and therapeutic. Writing gave disparate events structure and enabled me to find meaning in them, as well as a kind of emotional release. Short stories are the perfect literary form to explore a single emotional arc. But the stories aren’t specifically about me and my experiences. They were often what I imagined might have happened if I’d followed through on an impulse. In other words, the stories allowed me to experience what I was too chicken to do in real life.