I’ve been fascinated with personal storytelling ever since I began a diary in fifth grade. I've been intrigued by television and movies since before I could write. These interests have influenced both my creative work and my academic studies.
I draw on a rich interdisciplinary background in writing, communications, and the media arts. My doctoral dissertation on women’s experimental video autobiographies and my master’s thesis on innovative approaches to diary writing (a video script) paved the way for later explorations of personal and cultural memory across a range of media, including film, video, print, digital platforms, and the web. Professional experiences in the arts and sciences have further expanded my notions of creativity and invention.
I have taught writing and media courses at the University of California, Irvine; California State University, Long Beach; and the University of Iowa. On the cultural front, I have worked at or consulted for several nonprofits, including the Getty and the Long Beach Museum of Art, where I was the first video art archivist.
My own collection of video art research from the 1980s and '90s is housed in the Elayne Zalis Video Studies Archive at Cornell University's Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art.
I shifted my professional focus to philanthropy in 2006. Since then I’ve worked as a full-time development writer and communications strategist at Caltech, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and UC Irvine. I specialize in custom-designed principal and transformational gift proposals for individual donors.
Thanks to all these experiences, I’ve learned to communicate with diverse audiences, to work with teams, and to nurture innovation. In addition to helping other people articulate their visions for targeted audiences, I have continued to create my own work. A fascination with personal and cultural memory across a range of media continues to motivate my forays into personal storytelling.
My latest book, Reimagining The Twilight Zone: A Young Fan’s Stories, reflects my most recent experiments with life writing in the digital age. As I explain to readers:
"In new scenes of viewing, I watch The Twilight Zone streaming online. The shows prompt me to remember my youth and to envision my next act. While telling my stories, I reinvent both the child I was and the woman I’ve become. Private and public voices converge, interior and exterior boundaries shift, and fleeting memories live on, filtered through a personalized 'Twilight Zone' that I open to you." (vii)
Readers of Reimagining The Twilight Zone will discover portals to an elusive story world shaped by my journey through the second half of the twentieth century and the early twenty-first. I invite you to join me on this virtual excursion. My experiments with life writing may inspire you to tell your own stories in novel ways.
I am available for coaching and private consultations. For information, feel free to contact me at ezalis23 (at) gmail (dot) com. A native of Miami, Florida, I now call Southern California my home.
If you read Reimagining The Twilight Zone, or any of my other books, please consider leaving a review on Amazon. I would welcome the feedback.