Roberta George was born in Bisbee, Arizona, and also lived in California and Texas, where she went to Catholic girls’ schools. Almost every summer of her life was spent with her German grandmother on a 20-acre farm in the South, which left her with an overwhelming desire to pick blackberries every spring—and make wine. She has seven children and lives with a third-generation Lebanese husband in Valdosta, Georgia. She teaches yoga and a writers’ workshop, The Snake Handlers, at the Turner Center for the Arts, where she served as Executive Director for 12 years. She’s taught beginning English composition courses at Valdosta State University and Florida State University.
Roberta is the founding editor of Snake Nation Press, still in production after 25 years. She won a second prize for the poem “Three o” from the Porter Fleming Foundation and first prize for the short story “Truces” from her collection Below the Gnat Line. A short memoir of her Border Patrol father won a second prize from the Valdosta Daily Times, and her novel Baptizing the Cat was published by Snake Nation Press in 2012. Other poems have recently been selected by The Southern Poetry Review and The New Guard. “A Small Fortune” received an honorable mention in The Malahat Review contest.
Baptizing the Cat
Baptizing the Cat, a psychological novel, is both serious and comic, a trip with the subtleties of evil and their consequences. The protagonist, Phillip Craine, is a disgruntled 45-year-old artist, who lives with his wife and two daughters in St. Petersburg, Florida. Phillip s view of the world is egocentric and artistic, and though morally bankrupt, he s trying to find some meaning in his life. For the 12 years of his marriage he has passed himself off as a CIA agent, which gives him the freedom to come and go as he pleases. His wife Susan is overweight, wealthy, and passively in control. Still, Phillip has been faithful to her in his fashion. In this story, Phillip sees an intriguing woman on the beach and is struck by her looks and her attention to the man she is walking with. Out of boredom and curiosity, he decides to purchase equipment in order to spy on her. The following chapters describe his spying activities, some almost disastrous. Throughout the novel, Phillip is seeing the world through a painter s eyes, and he paints a portrait of Catherine that is an artistic breakthrough for him. Although Phillip is not a sympathetic or heroic character, he is believable, an interesting, talented, and intelligent man on the verge of doing the unthinkable. Phillip in many ways is the classic outsider to the wealthy life of his wife s family, to the Catholic religion, and to his own odd mother s and grandfather s world.