Aimee Bender is recognized as a unique writer of her time. Her wordplay and use of metaphors set her apart from her peers. Bender was born and raised in Santa Monica, California. Her father was a psychiatrist, and her mother was a dance teacher and choreographer. Her parents encouraged young Bender to explore her inner self at a very young age. She remembers her father helping her, as early as age nine, to realize the relationship between fear of an object (in one case, thunder) and anger. This insight allowed her to grasp the concept of metaphor, a device she excels at using in her fiction. Her mother also taught her to free her unconscious to intensify the creative process. Thus, Bender was able to combine the psychiatric and artistic techniques of both her father and her mother to enhance her own writing.
Bender was a precocious writer but abandoned this avocation while attending Palisades High School for choir and theater. She received a bachelor’s degree in theater from the University of California, San Diego, in 1991. Bender applied to several graduate programs in theater but was rejected. She then moved to San Francisco and taught reading in an elementary school which was heavily populated by children of Russian immigrants. Undaunted, Bender drew encouragement from her students, and this academic experience gave her not only the confidence to pursue writing but also material for later fictional works.
Finally, in 1995, Bender was accepted into the master’s of fine arts program at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). At UCI, she deviated from the practice of writing realistic...
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