About the Author:
Ali Berlinski was born in New Jersey but considers herself bicoastal as half her childhood was spent in Northern California after her parent’s divorce. She attended NYU, majored in Sociology, graduated cum laude and earned a dual masters in Education from CUNY Brooklyn College. She then joined the NYC Teaching Fellows program and taught special education in Brooklyn, New York. Currently, Ali Berlinski lives in Northern Spain where she continues to teach and write. This is her first novel.
MF: Your book is titled a beautiful mess. What do you hope to accomplish by sharing your mess with the masses?
AB: By sharing my book with the masses, I hope to help others discover or in some cases, rediscover, the power of laughter. Life is hard. Period. But if we laugh, especially together, perhaps life can a little less hard.
MF: Your Instagram page says you are “An expert in making the uncomfortable, comedic.” How do you consistently accomplish this?
AB: How do I manage to make the uncomfortable comedic? Ha. I’d like to say it’s a natural talent but really, when you come from a family as complicated and dysfunctional as mine, it becomes more so a tool for survival than an asset. I learned early on that it’s better to laugh at life’s problems than to get bogged down by them. It’s not always easy but it definitely works for me.
MF: Was there an inciting incident that compelled you to write a beautiful mess?
AB: I’ve always wanted to write a book about my life. That’s one of the blessings that comes with having an interesting family, you have lots to talk about. Really, it was more a question of when I’d get around to it. Luckily, I got my heartbroken, which just happened to give me the extra push I needed to move to Spain and write.
MF: You’ve been living in Spain for a while now. Did growing up bi-racial and shuffling between two American coasts help when you dropped into another culture?
AB: Growing up biracial definitely instilled in me an appreciation for different cultures. All the same, I don’t think it prepared me for living abroad. Nothing could have prepared me for that. Ironically, living in Spain has made me realize just how American I am.
MF: If I gave you a hippo where would you hide it?
AB: I would hide the hippo in my giant rack.
MF: ) What do you read? What do you re-read?
AB: I am a sucker for any book with a really strong heroine eg. A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, Memoirs of a Geisha, Atlas Shrugged, The Awakening, A Doll’s House. Nevertheless, I’m open to all sorts of genres and stories, as long as the writer isn’t long winded like Gabriel Garcia Marquez. My favorite authors of all time are Dr. Seuss, David Sedaris, and John Steinbeck.
MF: What is your favorite writing tip or quote?
AB: My favorite quote is from Flannery O’Conner, “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” My mind works better on paper, always has, always will.
MF: Do you have any advice for other writers?
AB: My advice to writers is write and be true- write what you know and want to hear. If you wouldn’t read it why would you expect others to?
MF: If you could jump into a book, and live in that world … which would it be?
AB: First, AMAZING QUESTION! Ugh, the possibilities. If I had to chose just one, I would be a barbaloot in The Lorax and freeze time so that it never got destroyed. Otherwise I’d love to hideout for a while with all the world’s geniuses in Rand’s secret valley.
Imagine what your life would be like if you laughed through all the mayhem. Ali Berlinski is an expert on making complicated family relationships and messy situations comedic. A biracial child of divorce, Ali grew up between two coasts and two families. With a gay deaf brother, ex-nanny stepmother, and celebrity ex-boyfriend, it’s no surprise that her personal life served as fodder for her first book, a beautiful mess.
The literary lovechild of David Sedaris and Carrie Bradshaw, Ali’s charming collection of anecdotes sheds precious, unconventional insight on her quest to use laughter to embrace the lighter side of heartache, cancer, depression, divorce. Her story reminds us that sometimes we all need a little help putting the fun back in dysfunctional. Can we be happy with this life? Ali Berlinski helps you say yes to your mess. #mymess
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