I was in a swirl of amazement, as I sat across from Tanya while we were chatting for Bits & Pieces. She had just given an amazing talk and, aside from the fact that she is a doctor and was telling us the most interesting medical facts, she had captivated the group with her confidence. Tanya is a natural with people and exudes a kind of confidence that carries over into everything she does. As you might know, she is headed to Paris, which has been a life dream of hers, and you get the feeling that she makes all of her dreams come true; i.e., her "bucket list" includes getting published before she dies. There is nothing morbid about death for her, maybe because she is a doctor, but she takes it as a natural thing and talks about doing everything that you can to fill your life, to have the life that you want and to make yourself happy. Tanya started a novel while she was in the call room waiting as a doctor! Multi-tasking is something that she does well, and she explained to me that she cannot not be doing something. Inside Tanya, there is a doctor, a dancer, a tennis player, a writer, just a few of the personas that she has taken on. When she told me the name of her college newspaper – Fovea –, which a simple definition of fovea is–area consisting of a small depression in the retina containing cones and where vision is most acute–you get the feeling that hers is more acute than most. Below are some snippets from our chat, and do watch this space for her return from Paris. As you can imagine, she will see it like no one else can...
“I have a bucket list. If you say one of these days, when is that day going to be? You have to be active. No one is going to come to your door.
“Medical education was brutal. I do not think that I have been through anything so brutal, and I am worried about an editor or an agent?!
“I am a highly creative person. My first manuscript began in a call room. I had a horrible cold I was miserable so I started writing. It has gone through four versions. It really wrote itself.
“I will be published; it is on my bucket list. You have to be willing to be out there.
“I started dancing at three. I now take tap class at Steps in the City. All the people I grew up watching dance are now gone. I loved them all dearly. I saw Gregory Hines three months before he died. He was so thin. He was working on “Law and Order.” I saw across the screen on CNN that he died. The first thing I thought was that he had cancer and nobody knew. It was devastating.
“When I was in elementary school, I was curious about doctors. We did not see doctors often and I was mystified about these people. I asked my mother about a scar on her belly, and I thought that was the way every child was born.
“My grand aunt lived in Paris. My Auntie Zoya was the Marilyn Monroe of the family. She died and is buried a stone’s throw from Rudolph Nureyev's grave. She was a dancer, an actress, and a socialite.
“If you have Russian in your blood, then you dance. My grandmother was in ballet. My mother was in ballet.
“It was my life’s dream to go to Paris where my Aunt lived. I will feel her in spirit.
“We're all ‘dying.’ I want to be able to write all the time. I want to escape medicine sometimes.
“Some of my favorite authors are Tess Gerritsen – she is a medical doctor, and Janet Evanovich, who has a great sense of humor. I like humor. I like to joke around.
“One day I want to have a small lake home. I want to be in my home and experience winter and summer; and write and write and write.
“When I tap, I am remote from ballet, but with any type of dance form you cannot think about problems. Whether tap or ballet, there is no other feeling you can get; there is nothing that can harm you. Your problems literally melt away. There is nothing but the dance. I thought about doing Flamenco. We are stopping over in Spain on the way to Paris.
“I have a hat with orange braids down the side and that is where the nickname Pippi came from, as in Pippi Longstocking. It is also my character's nickname.
“Fovea was the name of my college newspaper. I was the editor. We did articles about medical school, events, and we did some creative things.
“There are other facets of my life, at the end of the day I want to feel accomplished. It is like a drug.”♥