Dr. Diane P. Thompson, Professor of English
Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC), Woodbridge Campus
I was born in Los Angeles, California in 1940. I lived in Echo Park as a child and have many pleasant memories of the lake, the boats and ducks, and the endless picnics we enjoyed there with our friends. Later, we moved to Eagle Rock, a hilly suburb that I never liked at all. I left at sixteen to go to college at UCLA, where I majored in English. I loved UCLA. It was huge, impersonal, physically attractive, and had an enormous library. I stayed there for six years, earning a BA and MA in English. I also married and had a child during this time.
I was twenty-five when I moved to Houston, Texas. While there, I read lots of Russian novels and books on psychology, studied piano, discovered that I was not a talented novelist, and took care of my child while my husband worked on the Apollo mission at the Manned Spacecraft Center. After less than three years, I decided that I was either crazy or a misplaced person from elsewhere. Testing this hypothesis, we drove to New York City. From the moment we emerged from the Lincoln Tunnel onto the streets of Manhattan I knew the truth--I was not crazy at all, but a New Yorker who had never been to New York. A month later, we moved to Manhattan, where we lived for the next three years. It was a playground for the spirit in the mid-sixties, but a very expensive playground.
After our second child was born, we moved to an old stone farmhouse in New Jersey. That was the organic gardening, health food co-op, super mom phase of my life. It was great fun for a few years, but then school rebeckoned me. I enrolled in the PhD program in Comparative Literature at the City University of New York. I specialized in Medieval Studies, but the longer I studied, the more I was attracted to even older texts, most of all Homer. I had always been fascinated by ancient history, and I still clung to my childhood illusion that if I could only understand where we came from, the present would make better sense.
In 1978 we moved to our present home in Reston, Virginia. After completing my dissertation, I started teaching at Northern Virginia Community College in 1981, and that's what I've been doing ever since. For several years, I focused on the use of computers for composition. Then I became interested in using computers for communication, and that led to my interest in distance learning.
My two sons are grown now, so my husband and I share our house with a very special cat named Darth, who has basic cat privileges, including at least one solid lap nap per day. When I am not teaching or reading student work, I spend much of my time researching the history of stories about the Trojan War over the past three thousand years. I have finished writing a book about Trojan War Stories which was published in the spring of 2004. For leisure (of which there's not much), I study yoga, visit museums, go to movies, read mysteries, cook, and pay attention to my plants.
(c) Diane Thompson 3/2/1999; updated: 7/29/2005