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Jan Steckel
Writer and Medical Copy Editor


Painting by Deborah Vinograd

My husband Hew Wolff designed this web site and it is currently maintained by Nicki Hastie.

My doppelganger, the other Jan Steckel, is a chemist at the University of Pittsburgh and a white-water rafter.

A third (male) Jan Steckel was recently discovered.

Poets and Poetry (back to top)

Woman-Stirred An Online Literary Salon

Woman-Stirred is a quartet of queer women writers: Nicki Hastie, Julie Enszer, Merry Gangemi, and me. It's a think tank, a marketing campaign, a bunch of links, a lesbian studies class, a literary journal, a blog — it's here, it's queer, it's Woman-Stirred!

A whimsical poet with a Zen flavor, John Rowe is also President of the Bay Area Poets Coalition.

My favorite Berkeley poet is Julia Vinograd. You can find seventeen of her fifty books of poetry at Zeitgeist Press. Her new book is Cannibal Casserole: New and Selected Poems 1996-2006.

Check out the witty, charming formal poetry and literary essays of lesbian sonneteer Mary Meriam. Her poetry chapbook The Countess of Flatbroke is available from Modern Metrics.

Visit the stylish web site of my Woman-Stirred colleague, the British lesbian and feminist writer Nicki Hastie, and read her blog, Out on a dike.

Julie Enszer, lesbian feminist poet, essayist, novelist and activist, is blogging her way through 613 Mitzvot.

Merry Gangemi is a writer, activist, poet, editor, DJ and host of the literary GLBTQ radio show Woman-Stirred Radio at www.wgdr.org. She also produces Vermont's yearly Tea and Poetry reading series.

Check out the edgy, sexy, disturbing and hauntingly beautiful poetry of M. K. Chavez.

Cynthia Bryant, poet laureate of Pleasanton, has published seven chapbooks and has won many awards for her poetry. She is the curator of the Poet's Lane Literary List, an e-mail list where San Francisco Bay Area writers can post their events and news.

Super performance poet Selene Steese runs the Oakland S.O.U.P. reading and teaches the workshop series “Writing from your Inner Wildness”. This multitalented Matchless Goddess can also edit your manuscripts, teach you how to use your computer, and heal you with Reiki.

Eugene David is a Berkeley writer, poet, and philosopher who has published seven chapbooks of poetry. He advocates Permaculture and sustainable strategies for a viable future for the earth.

Linda Zeiser (center) with blues duo WILDSANG

Poet, author, editor and open mic host Linda Zeiser wrote The Melon Carts Have Overturned, edited The Light's Still On, Ida, and co-edited What I Want from You: Voices of East Bay Lesbian Poets, all available from Raw Art Press. She hosts the monthly women's open mic Works in Progress at the Montclair Women's Cultural Center in Oakland, California and has inspired and encouraged hundreds of female artists, musicians and writers, myself among them.

Writers and Writing (back to top)

I highly recommend the online writing classes of social psychologist, writing consultant and love advice columnist Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., the author of Loving in Flow, Writing in Flow and other books. Her site has a Q&A for writers, another about relationships, plus excerpts, reviews, and links.

Artists (back to top)

Berkeley painter Deborah Vinograd offers her portraits and still life paintings to the world and is available to do portrait work.

Berkeley Artist Tom Tuthill makes and sells small surrealist collages with a satiric bent. You can contact him at 510-849-4385.

Oakland artist Chandra Garsson's work is often as disturbing as it is beautiful. View her powerful and moving sculpture, assemblage and painting here and here.

Fitness and Health (back to top)

Montclair Physical Therapy in Montclair Village is the reason I can perform my work in public! After my second back operation, their superb therapists helped me recover and get stronger. Now that they've moved into a beautiful gym and are associated with Pilates and fitness instructors, an acupuncturist, massage therapists and a nutritionist, I can even recommend them to my completely healthy friends.

My good buddy Susan Liu, MD is a superb obstetrician-gynecologist and a truly decent person. Her patient-satisfaction ratings at Kaiser-Permanente Santa Teresa in California are consistently among the highest in her department. She appears in at least one prose piece and one poem of mine and in one poem by my husband, Hew Wolff. See if you can find them in my Writing section!

Anusara yoga instructor Lauren Mones is a world-class yoga practitioner who concentrates on the rehabilitative aspects of yoga. Her new DVD “Yoga Dharana: Aligning the Upper Body” comes out in early 2006. Visit her web site at www.yogadharana.com.

Businesses I Recommend (back to top)

If you're looking for a home loan, I strongly recommend Beth Hoffman of Alternative Mortgage Sources. She was efficient, professional, friendly and accessible, and she got us a great mortgage.

Want a fine watch, a wedding or engagement band, a fashionable ring, earrings, necklace or a bracelet? Topper Jewelers, Fine Jewelers since 1940, is a family business combining taste with friendly and expert service. I find the Michael Daniels Mokume rings they carry particularly beautiful.

NOW WEAR THIS jewelry and wearable folk art is designed by East Bay artist Tomoroa Hill. Says the East Bay Express (December 14, 2005): "What do Isaac Hayes, Melba Moore, and Pastor J. Alfred Smith have in common? Well, besides the obvious answer (they're all African American), they've also all commissioned personalized pendants, painstakingly handcrafted by Oakland-based artist and designer Tomoroa Hill of Now Wear This. Hill prefers the term 'wearable folk art' to the far less evocative phrase 'custom jewelry' to describe her creations, made with a synthetic polymer that has all the wonderful texture of ceramic, but without the corresponding weight. Mystical African themes often permeate her designs, rendered in the form of earrings, magnets, and pendants, and she's also been known to incorporate portraiture into her pieces, upon request."

LGBT-friendly Lipstick Lounge is not a lesbian or gay bar, not a straight bar, not a bi or a tranny bar, but a self-advertised "bar for human beings." Find this lesbian-owned haven in historic East Nashville, Tennessee, at the corner of Woodland Street and South 14th Street.

Professional Associations (back to top)

I am a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

I am proud to belong to the Bay Area Poets Coalition.

I am a member of the Bi Writers Association.

I belong to Friends of the D.R., an organization of former Peace Corps Volunteers who served in the Dominican Republic.

Political Action (back to top)

I signed For Our Patients, Not for Profits: A Call to Action, which appeared in JAMA in 1997.

I have endorsed the proposal of PNHP (Physicians for a National Health Program) for Single-Payer National Health Insurance.

A Letter to the Editor that I wrote to Dr. Stephen Goldstone, editor and medical columnist at GayHealth.com, was later published on the web site of the Bisexual Resource Center.

Here's a Letter to the Editor of the Harvard Crimson that I wrote about Selective Service when I was in college.

I am a card-carrying member of the ACLU.

Pro-Family Pediatricians really is for families — of all kinds. They are for ALL family values, not just a singular definition of family. This group of pediatricians supports extending to families headed by same-sex couples the same protections that so many other Americans take for granted: the ability to provide health insurance, take time off from work to care for their child, authorize medical care or stay with their child in the hospital. I have signed the group's open letter to the leaders of the House and Senate advocating such protections. If you agree, please urge your pediatrician to sign on.

Among the charitable organizations I've donated to in the last few years are Oxfam, Americares, the American Red Cross, the Jewish National Fund, the American Friends Service Committee, Goodwill, Planned Parenthood, and the Allendale Recreation Center in Oakland, California.