Member of the Month: Allan Goldstein

Storytelling and advocating for the rights of people with mental disabilities are one in the same for New York-based Allan Goldstein, who became the primary caretaker for his mentally disabled brother Fred in 1998 after both their parents had passed away. By then, Fred had already spent most of his life in institutions. “It was stunning when Fred and I slept under the same roof for the first time in 35 years,” says Allan.


In his piece in our “My Life So Far” project, “An Unanticipated Love,” Allan writes about the romance between Fred and a mentally disabled woman named Michele, and Allan’s struggle to understand what romantic love means to Fred in light of his cognitive limitations.

Read more about the brothers on Allan’s Finding Fred blog, and check out Allan’s responses to SMITH’s six questions, below.


How does your writing life fit in with the rest of your life?
I wrote an 80,000-word memoir about reuniting with Fred, which dovetailed with my teaching responsibilities as Assistant Director of the Writing Program at NYU-Poly and an instructor of English and ESL. I couldn’t teach without writing scheduled into my day; it centers me.

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