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Managing Investigative News Editor
Larisa was born inside the iron curtain of the former USSR, in the beautiful city of Odessa in the now, finally, the country of Ukraine. She was destined to be either a chess player or a guest start on Star Trek. Larisa and her family were granted exit visas and spent a year traveling through Europe while awaiting an entry visa to the US. The family moved to Cleveland, Ohio—effectively ending all possibilities of ever challenging Kasparov and Big Blue.
Larisa began writing at three, although it was pure nonsense. She got her B.A. in English from Cleveland State University and won a scholarship to the Imagination Writer's Workshop, to which she attributes her absolute dislike for Diane Wakoski, but gained great admiration for Sheila Schwartz. As a student at CSU, Larisa purposely got an F in her Existentialism class in protest of being tested on angst or actually having to attend class when experiencing angst. Sartre would agree, but the professor did not.
Larisa formed a life long friendship with Alberta Turner, who taught at Oberlin College as well as CSU, and who is truly a "great soul." Larisa has also developed a life-long reading love affair with Nabokov, Marquez, Allende, Gogol, Akhmatova, and Tennesse Willimas, to name a few.
By sheer accident and with no chess involved whatsoever, Larisa was the poetry editor of The Cleveland Review (no longer alive and kicking). She has published several of her own poems to a small, but well received response. Larisa also worked for several Russian poets doing translation work and research such as Zoya Falkov.
Larisa moved to New York in order to sell out and work on Wall Street, for Nasdaq... Larisa fully regrets this and daily kicks herself for such a grievous error of judgment. She did not stop writing, she simply needed to pay bills and somehow ended up not paying the bills and not publishing or even attending to her creativity fully for several years. Such is New York.
In 2001, Larisa lived roughly a block from ground zero and lost neighbors, friends, her job, and her ability to write anything whatsoever. She moved to Florida to live with her parents and begin her active denial of that tragic event, which she managed to keep up for two years, and from which she has finally awakened.
John had the honor of meeting Larisa when she emailed him to blast him about a story, from which their love/hate friendship began and continues to grow. While Larisa has been currently following the election issues, her general writing for Raw Story is focused on social issues and satire.
Larisa is currently working on a book of poetry entitled Oddesitka/Amreikanka to be published in late 2005. Larisa is also working on a yet unnamed novel about Russian refugees living in Italy (it's been over five years and she has yet to complete it, hurry up already!).
Larisa does not use her actual surname, instead using her patronymic as a pen name in honor of her father. She speaks Russian fluently, plays chess like a true Rusky, is obsessed with anagrams and ciphers, and is active (loud) in civil and human rights issues. Larisa is also a staunch advocate for patients' rights, something she knows a great deal about herself having a chronic illness. Larisa has Mixed Connective Tissues Disease (MCTD) which is a form of Lupus and/or Scleroderma (which only took about eight years to diagnose thanks to HMOs). So cut her some slack when her meds make her a bit batty.