ABOUT STACEY BIELER

“The business of rewriting what is already well known holds no charm for me. I would find no stimulus to write unless I were learning something new and telling the reader something new in content or in form."

Barbara Tuchman, “Biography as a Prism of History” in Practicing History: Selected Essays, 85.

I was born in Delano, California, to an inquisitive and mischievous dad and a hospitable and musical mom.  As a teenager I taught swimming to many children and a few adults. After participating in a National Science Foundation program for high school students at Scripps Institute of Oceanography (north of San Diego) one summer, I decided I wanted to become a marine biologist.

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Not doing well in calculus or genetics in college led to changing my major to psychology.  After graduation I worked as a secretary at a blood center.  I then joined an organization that focused on leadership training of college students. This led to having a similar role for three months in Oxford, followed by a three-month course in London.  While there, I fell in love with history through weekly visits to the British Museum. 

 

My interest in other cultures and history grew as I helped lead a tutorial project that matched undergraduate student volunteers with Chinese scholars to offer friendship and practice in conversational English.

 

During my husband’s time in graduate school in engineering, I worked as a secretary for a psychologist and filed papers in a toxicology lab on campus. He then took a faculty position at Michigan State University.

 

We have lived in Michigan for more than thirty years.  After receiving a Masters in Chinese and U.S. History, I started writing a book about Chinese students who studied in the USA in the early part of the 20th century.

 

But, I wanted to continue learning more about the rest of the world.  Our daughter and I sat on the couch many Saturday mornings over six years discussing history and culture, beginning with cave art to Ancient Romans and from the Middle Ages to 1989. Then she worked on a related project about animals, art, drama, music, science or different parts of the world.

I’ve volunteered with an MSU group welcoming and offering services to international students for thirty years.  More recently I was a docent at a local zoo for four years, giving tours on animals’ food, habitats and adaptations to visitors from ages 5-80.  

 

I enjoy snorkeling in the ocean, hiking, watching animals, reading, cooking international dishes, and planning itineraries for our next trip.  

“Research is endlessly seductive; writing is hard work. One has to sit down on that chair and think and transform thought into readable, conservative, interesting sentences that both make sense and make the reader turn the page. It is laborious, slow, often painful, sometimes agony. It means rearrangement, revision, adding, cutting, rewriting. But it brings a sense of excitement, almost of rapture; a moment on Olympus. In short, it is an act of creation.”

Barbara Tuchman, ”In Search of History” in Practicing History: Selected Essays, 21.