Kimberley Snow grew up in Greenwood, South Carolina, and has lived in a number of places including North Dakota and North Carolina where she assisted J.B. Rhine at Duke University’s Department of Parapsychology. She worked her way through graduate school as a chef, eventually becoming executive chef at the Kentucky Horse Center in Lexington, Ky. After completing a Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky, she took a job teaching in the English Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she helped to found the Women’s Studies Program. Two of her books, Writing Yourself Home and Keys to the Open Gate (Conari) grew out of her involvement with Women’s Studies. Over time she moved on to teach other classes at UCSB: Creative Writing, Science Fiction, Women’s Science Fiction, and, in 2003, “The Art of Peace.”
Her play, Multiple , won first prize in the 1986 Jacksonville University 17th Annual Playwrighting Contest. Dragon Soup & Other Intense Sensations, a play about restaurant life, was produced at The Mandalay restaurant in Santa Barbara which served the same meal being prepared in the play.
In early 1991, she and her husband, the poet Barry Spacks, moved to a Tibetan Buddhist community in Northern California where she spent the next six years studying Dzogchen with Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche, working in the kitchen, setting up a website for the community, and editing dharma books. Her memoir In Buddha’s Kitchen: Cooking, Being Cooked, and Other Adventures in a Retreat Center (Shambhala, 2003) comes out of her experiences there. It has been translated into Chinese, Korean, and Spanish.
Since 2007, she has served as the Program Director for the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies, founded by B. Alan Wallace, where she coordinates their meditation retreats. She leads dharma-related workshops in the Santa Barbara area both by herself and with others. Most recently, she and her husband have led a series of workshops and weekend retreats that focus on meditation and writing.
She continues to write in several different genres.
Themes in my writing have included food, love, sex, Tibetan Buddhism, romance, drugs, unusual states of mind, relationships, dzogchen, nature of mind, death, nowness, pain, compassion, peace, meditation, writing, fixation, dualism, liberation, multiple personalities, addiction, women’s issues, literary criticism, science fiction, husbands, everyday dharma, authentic teachers, false gurus, fear, cooking, being cooked, pristine awareness, service as path, website design, virtual reality, bread making, kitchen as path, Yurtbrellas, resistance and surrender. Another major part of my writing life has been how to integrate food, love, sex, Tibetan Buddhism, etc. into a meaningful life. Right now this seems to center on thinking less and loving more.
My writing often includes a comic twist with serious underpinnings whether I’m writing about food or Buddhism.
What is the last novel that you read that took your breath away?
Willliam Boyd’s Any Human Heart.
What artist’s music makes you feel inspired to write?
None. I prefer silence.
What are your three favorite films of all time? Discuss each of them a little bit.
Harold and Maude: this classic black comedy directed by Hal Ashby is from 1971 and starred Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort (who was also wonderful in Robert Altman’s Brewster McCloud).
King of Comedy: 1982, directed by Martin Scorsese, starring Robert De Niro and Jerry Lewis, is another dark comedy which flopped when first released. Lewis is brilliant as a jaded comic trying to fend off aspiring comedian Rupert Pupkin, played by De Niro.
I Am: This 2011 documentary directed Tom Shadyac asks two questions: What is wrong with our world and what can we do about it. An insightful look at our present overly-materialistic, out of control world situation, punctuated with little shards of hope and love.
What is a concert that you saw in person that you will never forget?
Ravi Shankar at UCSB twenty years ago.
Complete this sentence: “If I were to teach a course on the works of one author, that author would be…”
It Changes (Novel) (2011)