I grew up in Manhattan on the Upper West Side in something of a musical family; my mother was an opera singer, my father is a musicologist, my stepdad manages classical musicians. (My stepmom, with a background in school psychology, is a Mediator and Mediation Trainer. But she can carry a tune too.) My own career as an opera singer (in the children's chorus at New York City Opera) was cut short by a massive case of stage fright before I hit fifth grade; it may or may not be coincidental that I'd taken up writing by this point, after having read Harriet the Spy (admittedly, at this point, a cliché, but it's true) when I was eight. In fifth grade they held a contest at school to write a caption for a photo of two pigs kissing — "I've just met a girl named Maria!" won me ten dollars, which I still consider to be the beginning of my current career. (No need to point out how many decades passed before I would be financially compensated again for my literary achievements.) Fast forward X number of decades and X number of career missteps to a level of dissatisfaction significant enough to compel me to take a shot at some kind of actual career from my childhood passion. (Okay, I taught for a number of years, and that was fun, but I was unsurprisingly overworked and underpaid, and also trying to write in my spare time, which was somewhat nonexistent.)
Some of my favorite web sites are McSweeneys, Free Will Astrology (check it out — I know nothing about astrology, but it's called Free Will for a reason, and the guy who writes them is very funny, but guaranteed they will freak you out), FreeTranslation.com (when you're bored, type a passage into any language, get the translation, and then translate it back — guaranteed humor value. Found magazine (a site of found notes, lists, etc. that have a weirdly literary/arty feel), eBay (because you can never have too many Little Kiddles).
Favorite childhood books: The Bad Child's Book of Beasts, From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, The Complete Nonsense of Edward Lear, The Phantom Tollbooth. Now: anything by George Saunders, Ken Kalfus, David Foster Wallace, Rick Moody, Aimee Bender, Lydia Davis, Lorrie Moore. Recent favorite books include The Feast of Loveby Charles Baxter, and Dear Mr. President by Gabe Hudson.
Elizabeth Crane's stories have appeared in The Sycamore Review,Washington Square, Weep Daily, New York Stories, Book, The Florida Review, and Eclipse. She lives in Chicago.