"Stories are the only enchantment possible, for when we begin to see our suffering as a story, we are saved." -- The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Volume III
Karin Finell remembered Anaïs's words while writing her memoir of WW II. She dove back into the depth of war and bombs to write what she remembered, resulting in, Good-bye to the Mermaids: A Childhood Lost in Hitler's Berlin.
Finell has written for as long as she can remember. As a child in Germany, she entertained herself by writing and illustrating fairy stories. Karin's skies were inhabited by angels and the seas by mermaids. Her created world shielded her from the reality of bombs and death.
After the war ended, Karin and her grandmother hoped to emigrate to America. In 1952, this dream came true for Karin, but alone, because her grandmother had passed away. Karin arrived in Santa Monica at age eighteen to live with strict Mormon relatives whom she had never met. After her mother arrived in the United States, they moved to Los Angeles where Karin attended evening classes at City College. Karin later entered UCLA, where she took classes. That year she adopted a baby son and became pregnant with her daughter. She considers that period the most fulfilling of her life. At UCLA, Finell earned her B.A. in English Literature (suma cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa) in 1967 and her M.A. degree in 1970.
Finell's articles have appeared in the German literary magazine MERIAN, and in Pferd und Reiter. Her poetry has been published in The Poetry Therapy Journal and in The Santa Barbara Independent. Her stories have appeared in Mexico, a Love Story (Seal Press) and in The Way, a Franciscans magazine, as well as in five volumes of the Community of Voices anthology. Karin is at work right now writing on her life in America.
Finell is the recipient of the 2006 Siemens Award and was awarded first place in the Literature Division of the John E. Profant Foundation of the Arts. She teaches Writing your Pain: Grief and Transformation, at Adult Education at Santa Barbara City College. Finell arranged for a celebration for: Anaïs Nin, A Writer -- A Life, at the time of Anaïs' centenary (2003) at Santa Barbara City College, with Janet Fitch, Paul Herron and others in attendance.
Articles by Karin Finell
Review: The Clean House, by Sarah Ruhl October 7, 2007 (Karin Finell) Live Theater brims with lessons for writers. Karin Finell reviews The Clean House, comparing the work to that of other great writers. -- Editor (complete article...)
Musings of Evil and Good April 12, 2007 (Karin Finell) An essay from Karin Finell, who grew up in World War II Berlin, and whose recently published memoir, Good-bye to the Mermaids, A Childhood Lost in Hitler's Berlin has been getting great reviews. (complete article...)
On Norman Mailer and His Latest Opus: The Castle in the Forest February 27, 2007 (Karin Finell) Karin reports on David Ulin's (book editor of the LA Times) interview with Norman Mailer in the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills, on C-Span. February 2007. (complete article...)
Why We Write, What We Get June 30, 2006 (Karin Finell) Karin talks about the problem of writing and money and why sometimes we get something unexpected and more valuable from what we write. (complete article...)
Review: Women's Literary Festival March 7, 2006 (Karin Finell) It is over. The lights are out, the leathery chicken has been consumed, the iced tea drunk, and the center pieces of succulents will grace other tables. What lingers though, are the voices of the authors who spoke and read from their works at the first Women's Literary Festival in Santa Barbara. Voices to be heard again when we open their books. (complete article...)
Review: Italy, A Love Story October 13, 2005 (Karin Finell) Italy, A Love Story. Women Write about the Italian Experience. Edited by Camille Cusumano. You tell me your friends are going to Italy this fall? Hurry to your local bookstore and buy this book before their plane takes off. (complete article...)
In Memory of Dennis Lynds August 27, 2005 (Karin Finell) Dennis Lynds, mystery writer of over eighty novels and more than two hundred short stories passed away at age 81. The prolific author whose psuedonym is Michael Collins, was best known for the hard-boiled private eye series, featuring a one-armed detective, Dan Fortune. As a democratic socialist, Collins mixed sociological commentary with his crime-solving page turners. (complete article...)