Donna Carol Voss’s life experience has been eclectic; it includes just about everything but mainlining heroin and going to jail, and she missed jail by only a hair. She is a Berkeley grad, a stay-at-home mom, a former pagan, and a devout Mormon.
A study in extremes, she is a fifty-something homemaker who loves rap music, outrageously expensive shoes, and people who own their flaws and call her on hers. She is uncomfortable negotiating the price of anything but relishes intense emotional interactions, especially if they are about politics and religion. Raised in the shadow of luxury, her favorite vacation is camping. She is an eternal optimist who is endlessly fascinated by the dark side of good people. Anxious to be liked by all, she has written a memoir that is sure to provoke everyone about something.
Words are Donna’s first love, whether used with laser-like precision or nuanced artistry. A highlight of her life, reflected on fondly and often, is the time she crafted the French equivalent of “get lost”—phrased in the subjunctive with rich vulgarity—when her first boyfriend dumped her. She is now married to a former Navy Commander for whom words are more of a guideline, and this a source of more humor and less frustration as the years go by.
Since becoming Mormon at thirty-eight, Donna misses coffee desperately. She does not, however, miss alcohol or profanity, perhaps because she had “an elegant sufficiency,” her mother would have said, of the latter.
Donna and her husband adopted an eight-year-old boy, his five-year-old sister, and their one-year-old brother, an act which elicits nearly universal praise and which, it must be said in all honesty, she does not deserve since she really didn’t know what she was getting herself into. She will accept some credit for still hanging in ten years later, and for making her best effort to like soccer, board games, and Disney movies. Her nineteen-year-old is now an Eagle Scout and a high school graduate; her sixteen-year-old is a lovely young woman, giving and kind; her eleven-year-old is a charismatic entrepreneur-in-the-making. They are all doomed to a life of correct grammar and old-fashioned etiquette.
If she could do anything she wanted, it would be weeding—while listening to an audiobook—or public speaking. If she could eat only one food the rest of her life, it would be peanut butter fudge. If there are rays of sunshine anywhere near her, she has to be in them.
Donna Carol Voss is the author of the recently released Hail to the Chief! 10 Questions to Ask Every Oval Office Candidate and the memoir One of Everything.