About the Author

headshot-Phyllis-husband+LynnlikePhyllis M Skoy has been writing throughout her life. However, it wasn’t until 2013 that she submitted her work for publication. Phyllis was named Discovery of the Year for “bosque, the magazine” for her short story, “Life After.” Her first novel, What Survives, was short-listed for the Santa Fe Writers Project.

A one-time song lyricist, Phyllis practiced the short form as she studied and pursued a career as a psychotherapist and psychoanalyst. While living in New York City, she studied American Sign Language and Seido Karate and established a karate program for the deaf in collaboration with her karate grandmaster, Kaicho Nakamura. Although she retired as a second degree black belt, her program continues.

Phyllis has a master’s degree in counseling from Fordham University, a master’s degree in social work from Wurzweiler School of Social Work (Yeshiva University) and a certification in the child and adolescent from Metropolitan Institute for Training in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy.

In 2000, Phyllis and her husband relocated to Placitas, New Mexico, but Phyllis returned to NYC in 2001 to work as a volunteer for the Red Cross after Sept. 11.

In addition to “What Survives,” Phyllis is making the final revisions on a family memoir and is writing a prequel to “What Survives” (“Fatma, Daughter of the Prophet”).
Phyllis maintains a small private psychoanalytic practice in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

When There Are No Words

Posted by on Nov 6, 2018 in The Writing Life | 0 comments

When There Are No Words

In the aftermath of a mass shooting of 11 Jews at the Tree of Life synagogue, my sorrow and outrage lead me to ask: Where is the safe place? When there are no words, I breathe. I take in deep breaths, let them out slowly, until the words come. They come to me reluctantly, and then I have to breathe again until they flow more easily. When they cease to come, I breathe again, and finally, I take a break to make çay (Turkish tea) and drink it while I breathe. People often ask me what I do to keep on writing. Am I ever at a loss for words? Often,...

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Holding on to a Loving State of Mind

Posted by on Oct 29, 2018 in The Writing Life | 0 comments

Holding on to a Loving State of Mind

These are crazy times in a world gone mad, but fear does not have to control our lives, our speech, our manner of being in the world or how we respond to our fellow human beings. Let me use an example. I cannot know about you, but I was quite disappointed in Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s publicizing of her DNA. She let Trump’s insanity occupy her and caused her to behave in ways that echo Trump himself. We have to try our best to continue a spiritual state of mind before and after meditation or prayer, whatever it may be that we do. Praying or...

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‘In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight’

Posted by on Oct 9, 2018 in The Writing Life | 0 comments

‘In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight’

For the sake of our republic, this is no time to sleep Our republic has fallen asleep. Like a person whose partner is cheating, we have closed our eyes until it might be too late. In our innocence, we are slowly (perhaps not so slowly) losing what we once fought so hard to achieve. If we are the guiding light for the world, our world is in trouble. Our president has declared recently sworn in U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh “proven innocent.” Can someone tell me please, in what court of law? In fact, he has not been proven innocent...

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Watering Holes, or the Magical Qualities of Tea

Posted by on Sep 28, 2018 in The Writing Life | 0 comments

Watering Holes, or the Magical Qualities of Tea

I do not feel a strong urge to revisit Europe these days, perhaps with the exception of Spain. Africa, though? Yes. I most definitely wish to return. The places where I hear the call to prayer in the mornings (no, I am not Muslim) and the animals still roam free, that is where my heart is. Many years ago, I ran away from home to Europe and North Africa. I turned 21 in Morocco. I did not make it to the Atlas Mountains or the Sahara. I was a poor young traveler/adventurer. We are considering visiting Morocco next year with friends, and then...

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Seizing Opportunity: A Literary Reading at an Art Show

Posted by on Sep 20, 2018 in The Writing Life | 0 comments

Seizing Opportunity: A Literary Reading at an Art Show

When Carolyn Flynn invited me to participate in her friend Katyraven Hernandez Dorsey’s art opening at 5G North Gallery at the Factory on Fifth, my initial reaction was, “This could be fun.” I went to meet Katy at her home and studio, so that we could discuss with Carolyn and the other readers (Albuquerque poet laureate emeritus Jessica Helen Lopez, Santa Fe author Rob Wilder) how we would approach the event. It was a brief meeting, one person on the phone and the other not available. Because I was buried in the second volume of Proust’s In...

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What makes a “hero?”

Posted by on Sep 5, 2018 in The Writing Life | 0 comments

The author ponders whether she is one, and takes a hard look at these times It seems to me that since Sept. 11, and perhaps much prior to Sept. 11, perhaps since the beginning of time, we have used the term “hero” too lightly. When I worked for the American Red Cross in New York City after Sept. 11, the office gave me a child’s drawing that was meant to present to volunteers, such as myself. It says on it, “Dear Heroes.” This was the one they gave me, and so I accepted it in the right spirit, but I did say to them, “I am no hero.” They kept...

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Goodbye, Aretha!

Posted by on Aug 28, 2018 in The Writing Life | 0 comments

Goodbye, Aretha!

My tribute to the Queen of Soul The other day, I woke up to discover Aretha Franklin had died. The world feels different to me now. Whenever my life has needed a musical pick-me-up, I have always turned to Aretha and Janis. I can still turn to them, but they will never make another recording, just as Maya Angelou will never write another poem or William Trevor will never write another short story, Aretha and Janis have done all they are going to do. Aretha has been with me since the 1960s. I cannot remember the recording that first got my...

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Retirement Phase II: A New Relationship with Time

Posted by on Aug 14, 2018 in The Writing Life | 0 comments

Retirement Phase II: A New Relationship with Time

Finding good fortune in the company of my next novel, my husband, our dog Django and Proust As most of you know, I closed my private practice office in July 2017. But for the few remaining patients whom I thought might benefit from another year with me, and who did not wish to have to see another therapist, we continued by phone. As of December 2018, I will be ending these most precious relationships as well. For those of you who have had the experience of long-term treatment, or those of you who do long-term treatment as therapists...

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Pondering Hatred

Posted by on Aug 6, 2018 in The Writing Life | 0 comments

Pondering Hatred

Why are we so deeply entrenched in our own ideas that we cannot understand others? This little fellow reminds me of myself today, as I ponder a quotation I heard the other day on news commentary. It isn’t the exact quotation, but the idea is simple enough: One cannot dispel ignorance with arrogance. This sounds easy enough, but our passion for our beliefs is strong. When we become heated in our arguments, filled with the zeal to convey our truths, we tend to disregard what the other person (or persons) is saying. We are too deeply entrenched...

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Where do I gather my inspiration?

Posted by on Jul 24, 2018 in The Writing Life | 0 comments

Where do I gather my inspiration?

Many of my friends never knew that I used to write song lyrics before my memoir (Myopia, a memoir) was published. It was one of my great joys when I lived in New York City in the early years. My friend, Guy Strobel, and I would sit for hours at his piano, up four flights in a walk-up in Hell’s Kitchen. An actor, writer, composer and singer, Guy has always made me laugh. He is not unlike Peter Pan, although he is quite mature. I think of him as a creative wood sprite who just happens to have lived most of his life in the Big Apple. For several...

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