Bethany Saltman grew up at the end of a dirt road in Michigan.
She received her B.A. in literature from Antioch College in 1992, her M.F.A in poetry from Brooklyn College in 1994 (where Allen Ginsberg was her adviser), and then went on to do Ph.D. coursework in linguistics at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Her professional life began in Brooklyn, where, after many years of adjunct teaching, she was offered the position of Research Professor of Humanities at Polytechnic University. In addition to teaching courses like Basic Writing, 19thCentury Novel, and Creative Writing, she also taught graduate courses to NYC high school teachers who wanted to learn how to use writing in their courses. And so she taught seasoned public school teachers to develop their own teacher-researcher projects and reflect on what they did in their classrooms—and how they felt about it. This was the beginning of a long, exciting, and varied career in thinking about thinking alongside good people.
It was around this time that Bethany’s budding interest in Zen Buddhism blossomed. She took a leave of absence from her job, and moved to Zen Mountain Monastery in the Catskill Mountains of New York with her husband whom she had met there years prior.
After two years of full-time residential Zen training, she and her husband decided to leave the monastery for a life of lay practice. They have been living down the road for many years now, with their young daughter, and are both senior lay students in the Mountains and Rivers Order of Zen Buddhism. Bethany serves on the board of the Zen Mountain Monastery, and has been an adviser and correspondent with the National Buddhist Prison Sangha for over twenty years.
Since leaving Brooklyn, Bethany has developed an award-winning editing, writing, research, and consulting career. Her work can be seen in magazines like the New Yorker, New York Magazine, Atlantic Monthly, Parents, Town & Country, and many others. Her research and editing clients include super-sonic, best-selling and award-winning authors. Bethany also serves as a strategic coach, helping writers and entrepreneurs at all stages of the creative process envision and execute their projects, including book proposals, content development, Big Ideas, messaging, and the like.
And finally, her work as a consultant for organizations and teams seeking clarity on their brand, mission, voice, and/or goals, pulls together every single thing she loves—listening, reflecting, cultivating meaningful language that really communicates, workplace dynamics, and Big Picture assessments that lead to the granular-level adjustments that can change lives.
In other words, Bethany’s specialty is essence.
When Bethany is not writing, reading, editing, interviewing, cooking, driving her daughter around the Catskills, hanging with friends and family on the deck, or doing zazen, she is dreaming up ways to return to Rome where, for some reason, she is always happy.
Photo by Hillary Harvey