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February 13, 2004 - Image 42

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-02-13

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JN: What role does Judaism play in
your life today? And was it important
for you to marry someone Jewish?
SS: Though I'm not traditional, my
favorite writers are Jewish. My parents
knew they were in trouble when I told
them Philip Roth was my role model.
Portnoy's Complaint is one of my
favorite books.
So is Erica Jong's Fear of Flying. I
love Yehuda Amichai's poetry.
I'm glad I married a funny Jewish
writer because we speak the same lan-
guage. But I couldn't have married a
Jewish Republican -banker.

JN: How big a role does sex play in a
love relationship, and was it difficult for
you to be so specific in your writing?
SS: I made my Michigan friend Laura
Berman (a writer for the Detroit News)
read a novel I wrote that everybody
loved but nobody was buying. It was
based on a true story about two sis-
ters-in-law who switch lives. I asked
Laura what was wrong with it.
She said, "You have no imagination
whatsoever; write a memoir. You have a
complicated love-hate relationship with
your sister-in-law; write about people
you adore. And two sisters-in-law is a
boring subject. Write about sex."
I was trying to sell out for years;
nobody was buying. I was trying to be
raunchy because sex sells. But sex is more
interesting with somebody you love,
which is what I write about.

JN: How do you deal with feelings of
vulnerability about exposing so much
about your own life in both the pro-

HEART SMART from page 41

feedback frorri people with whom I
disagree, notably the people who
believe that it's wrong to take medica-
tion [preventatively]. I'm expecting to
get public feedback from Dean
Ornish, whom I name in the book. I
couldn't disagree with him more
strongly. By insisting that we stay away
from medication and move only to
healthy diet and exercise as the sole
way to prevent heart attacks, he is pro-
moting a position I think is wrong
and [not] good medicine."
Salgo's book presents a chapter
that provides and analyzes a self-test
that readers can take to evaluate
their personal risks for heart attacks.

fessional and personal realms?
SS: A brilliant adviser gave me a rule for
staying successful and happy: "Lead the
least secretive life you can." It works!
I now have two careers I love —
teaching and writing. I just sold a sec-
ond book and finished a third; I quit
cigarettes, lost weight, feel very exhila-
rated and healthy.
I have an agent and editor I adore,
am going on the Today show, have
tripled my income, feel madly in love
with my husband, feel closer than ever
to my family.
Repression makes you sick and
angry. [As] John Updike says, "Naked
honesty is engaging." It actually makes
excellent business and creative sense
for me to be open.

JN: How did the men in your life
contribute to shaping your career?
SS: The reason I think the book works
is that I'm a raging feminist who
adores men. I can't stand women who
kvetch about what cads all men are.
As I stress in my book, the men in
my life have been extremely supportive.
My last chapter is about how my
father insisted on paying.for my pri-
vate school, college and graduate
school. He didn't even want me to
move to Manhattan but helped me
pay my ludicrously expensive rent for
years when I couldn't afford it.
My husband supported me when I
quit freelancing to finish the book.
In the most cathartic section of Five
./k/n, which takes place on my 40th
birthday, he and my dad and brothers get
me my first computer, all hooked up —
with a laser printer and AOL and soft-
ware installed. How amazing is that? ❑

He also discusses the impact of the
use of antibiotics and points out that
the pathogen he describes is not the
one associated with sexually trans-
mitted disease.
"Since I finished the book — and
one of the reasons I put an adden-
dum in the book — there were sever-
al articles published in the British
Medical Journal discussing a
Tolypill,' a concoction which essen-
tially is a statin plus an aspirin plus a
few other meds," Salgo says. "The
pill dramatically reduced the heart
attack rate, according to their stud-
ies. In fact, the editorial in the BMJ
used a word I had never seen used
for heart disease — cure." ❑

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