For the last four days, Mary Wollstonecraft and I have been poised to leap? jump? off the Putney Bridge into the Thames. Mary is trying to kill herself (she does not succeed) and I am trying to find the right verb. The first biography I have read uses “leap,” the second one uses “jump.” Is there a third word I can use? I tried “fall” but then it sounds like an accident. I think I am just stalling, because I am nearing the end of her life for real. And then it is time to plunge (I think I just found the verb) into Mary Shelley. A fifth grader at my son’s school called me up to interview me about Frankenstein for a report she is writing. I had a hard time answering her questions. One was: Was Mary Shelley influenced by her mother? That is my whole book in a nutshell. I settled on yes. And added profoundly, but I don’t think my interviewer knew what profoundly meant.