The Wendy M. Grossman FAQ

Note: if you're reading this, you may have met me at a party and asked me one of these questions. I'm sorry I was rude; I just am completely unable to keep repeating this information without blowing a gasket. Call it a low impatience threshold.

Q: Are you related to Stefan Grossman, the British-based blues guitarist, performer, and producer?
A: No. But I played on an album he produced in 1978, called "The Women's Guitar Workshop".

Q: Are you related to Loyd Grossman, the British-based TV presenter?
A: No.

Q: Are you related to any other Grossmans?
A: Yes. Several dozen, none of them famous (yet). There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of Grossmans in the New York phone book alone.

Q: Why do you live in London?
A: Things happen.

Q: No, seriously, why do you live in London?
A: What this question usually really means is, "Why don't you live in the US, where you belong?" The answer is that I don't really know. Many of the things in my life came to a natural stopping place in 1981, when I was still living in Ithaca, NY, and expecting to live there permanently. I had, however, always been curious what it would be like to live in Britain, and I had also always wondered whether, if I started over someplace with a more or less empty room I would end up with the same life. So in late 1982, I went overseas, and circumstances have never quite been right for me to move back. As for the experiment in starting over, I can say that parts of my life are different, and parts are the same. More or less as you'd expect. I don't regret the experiment, though I would advise anyone moving overseas "temporarily" to be aware that you only have about five years to decide if you want to go back and pick up the same life. After five years, your friends have moved, divorced, had kids who are now people who don't know you. After ten years, you're starting over more or less completely. However, the Internet does make it possible to have a public and social life with your old friends even if you rarely meet.

Q: Do you go back to the US much?
A: Yes. Several times a year at least.

Q: Do you ever think about moving back there?
A: All the time.

Q: So, why don't you?
A: See above.

Q: Do you like living in London?
A: I like the absence of guns, the existence of national health care, the ready availability of public transportation, and the breadth of international movies here. I *used* to love the London theater, but in recent years it's been overrun with revivals as star vehicles, movies turned into plays (cf The Graduate and La Cage aux Folles) and the number of new plays has plummeted. I get very cranky here, though, because of the constant feeling of being cramped, the crowding, the garbage everywhere, and the lack of personal space -- wherever you go, people always bump into you. Plus, I do miss being closer to my American friends, and also living somewhere where the social life didn't revolve so much around alcohol, which I don't drink.

Q: Do you still sing?
A: Sometimes, when asked, occasionally at the Twickenham Folk Club. Information about what kind of music I play and on what instruments is here, along with some instruction pages for autoharp and guitar/banjo tunings, and a bunch of (legal) MP3s for download. I bought a lovely old 1906 Bechstein upright (rosewood with ivory keys) in the mid 1990s, and started learning some Scott Joplin rags, but got bogged down in writing books and other stuff. I still think of myself as a musician, though.

Q: Who do you write for / what do you write about?
A: See net.wars, Articles or Books.

Q: Do you play tennis, or just watch it?
A: I am a member of the Pensford Tennis Club, where I play several times a week at least. Badly. But I didn't start to play, really, until I was 45. (For mathematicians, that was in 1999.)

Q: Any other sports?
A: Just Scrabble.

Q: Why do you keep three old tennis balls in your tumble dryer?
A: It's a very small dryer, and I theorize that the balls will keep the clothes from getting too crumpled.