Elayne Zalis, PhD, MA, draws on an interdisciplinary background in writing, communications, and the media arts. Her work explores personal and cultural memory across a range of media, including film, video, print, digital platforms, and the web.
A native of Miami, Florida, she now calls Southern California her home. For additional background, see TheMemoryChannel.com.
Reimagining The Twilight Zone: A Young Fan's Stories
Reimagining The Twilight Zone: A Young Fan’s Stories blends fact, fiction, and fantasy to explore how the Twilight Zone television series sparked the imagination of a young girl growing up in Miami, Florida, in the late 1950s and early ’60s. The collection of twenty hybrid essays considers selected episodes from the child’s perspective and includes remixes and mash-ups of the shows, similar to fan fiction.
Each episode prompts the young fan to exercise her imagination in new ways. She learns to push the boundaries of what is possible while also expanding her worldview. In the process of telling these stories, the adult narrator reinvents both the child she was and the woman she has become. The Twilight Zone serves as a springboard to creative thought.
A portrait emerges of a writer as a young TV fan in the Kennedy era. Her personal stories contribute to public dialogues about the impact of television and popular culture on the baby boomer generation, and the collection as a whole experiments with novel approaches to life writing in the digital age.
A Child's Personal Twilight Zone: Imagining New Possibilities
A Child’s Personal Twilight Zone: Imagining New Possibilities highlights three stories originally published in Reimagining The Twilight Zone: A Young Fan’s Stories, a speculative memoir by Elayne Zalis that explores how The Twilight Zone sparked her imagination when she was a child in Miami in the late 1950s and early ’60s. The young TV fan and the woman she becomes collaborate across space and time to reimagine their favorite episodes of the classic television series. While tapping into a shared memory bank, they retreat to a personal Twilight Zone that nurtures creativity and invention.
In contrast with the memoir, which covers a broad range of characters, the three intersecting stories in this abridged edition feature children and young adults in leading roles: “Beyond Our World” retells “Little Girl Lost” (March 1962) from the perspective of Abbey, a dimension-hopping young storyteller whom Zalis invented. “Invaders from Outer Space,” a remake of “Black Leather Jackets” (January 1964), brings together four child actors from different episodes of The Twilight Zone to save the planet. “Uncharted Waters,” the grand finale, takes “The Bewitchin’ Pool” (June 1964) to new depths after the author as an eleven-year-old girl discovers a magical underwater portal one summer in Miami Beach. Like the other youths in A Child’s Personal Twilight Zone, she imagines new possibilities. The latest volume in Zalis’s autobiographical quartet, A Child’s Personal Twilight Zone shifts the focus from speculative memoir to speculative fiction. [134 pages]
Curated Memories: A Boomer's Personal Retrospective
In this volume, Elayne Zalis maps out a journey of discovery and invention that spans the second half of the twentieth century and the early twenty-first. Amid transformational cultural, societal, political, and technological shifts, her personal story begins in South Florida in the early 1950s and concludes in Southern California, where she settles in the mid-1990s after extended stopovers in the Northeast, elsewhere in the South, and in the Midwest.
This expansive view across space and time allows Zalis to establish links between the television, popular culture, and diary writing that spark her imagination when she is a young girl and the creative pathways that independent video, personal computers, the internet, and social media later make possible. Writing becomes not only a through line but also a lifeline.
While adding her stories to our collective memory banks, Zalis passes on what she has learned. She also instigates a dialogue with her younger selves, who come alive once more in her mind and on the page. Together, they pay tribute to a life lived beyond the spotlight and behind the scenes. Imagination picks up where memory leaves off. The young TV fan portrayed in Reimagining The Twilight Zone: A Young Fan’s Stories, Zalis’s previous book, grows up.