After more than a decade of "marriage" to a woman with whom she was raising a daughter, she fell in love with a West Indian male lawyer she met on a fact-finding tour to Nicaragua in 1987. Her decision to move in with that man stunned the lesbian literary and political community and they forcefully and dramatically cast her out. The experience was, she writes,
like deliberately embarking on a sea cruise off the edge of a flat Earth.Her story is told in the memoir Apples And Oranges: My Journey Through Sexual Identity.
Jan is a poet, novelist, liberal activist, book critic and reviewer. She has written eight additional books including the nonfiction Beyond Gay or Straight: Understanding Sexual Orientation, and the novels Sinking, Stealing, and The Prosperine Papers.
Her short fiction, articles, poetry and book reviews appear regularly in numerous magazines including Kenyon Review, The Village Voice, Ms., The Nation, Poets & Writers, and the Women’s Review of Books. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fiction fellowship.
Jan is the director of Eugene Lang College, a division of the New School University (formerly New School for Social Research) in Manhattan, where she teaches fiction and autobiographical writing. She is currently working on a book of poems, In the Dazzlegarden a novel, The Observable Moment When Things Turn Into Their Opposites.