Kamy and I met in the fall of 2003, when we were both living in London. We met as memoir writers in a sea of biographers at Diane Middlebrook’s newly formed London Salon. I was on sabbatical, composing “Out of Breath,” a memoir of my twenties in Paris, when I was trying desperately to find Jean-Paul Belmondo. Kamy was working on I Do But I Don’t, her memoir about modern marriage and feminism. When we found ourselves back in New York the following fall, we decided to take our collaboration in a new direction. We would continue to read each other’s work, but we would also combine our common interests in memoir and women’s writing with a wider group of writers, and combine our worlds—mine, older, mainly composed of academics longing to reach audiences beyond academia; hers, younger, women with talents and ambitions in multiple genres. The intergenerational structure of the New York iteration of the Salon remains important to both of us, as do the diversity of writerly experience and degrees of professional recognition.
Kamy’s brilliant impulse to take the salon to the virtual world is not one that would have ever come to me. A “digital immigrant,” as the phrase goes, I enter this universe of Web relations with a certain anxiety and foot-dragging reluctance. But if my grandparents could leave Eastern Europe at the beginning of the twentieth century and remake themselves in English, I can at least move myself into the languages of the twenty-first.