We had a good class today – at least it was better than I expected, given that it was the first English class after the holiday break and I figured the students wouldn’t be in the groove yet. I certainly wasn’t. […]
The week between Christmas and New Year’s is a peculiar one. Some of my friends are in Florida, basking in the sunshine. Our president is on beautiful Oahu, where I love to imagine him in peaceful sunshine, with the trade winds to soothe and rejuvenate. I have friends from long ago who still gather every year at the castle they own on the west coast of Scotland. Still others are stacking wood for their wood stoves and cozying up in intimate family togetherness. Others are partying and feasting in the city.
Why do we garden? Gardens are backdrops to every Arabian Night tale, crucial to Alice in Wonderland’s mysterious adventures, vital in some Shakespearean dramas. Whether it is a miniature nature corner in a city apartment or a famous estate designed for an emperor or a queen, the garden is a symbol of something internal and eternal in each of us. Ideally, of course, the whole world is our garden. But it’s also one of the most personal, daily aspects of our lives.
Holiday season is the best time of year for playing games – at parties, in the classroom, or at a dinner. The Metaphor Game is one of my favorites. You don’t need any props – just your imagination. Want to find out how to play?
Words are the genie in a bottle. They are magic. Magic creates something: a flying carpet, a fabulous dinner, a friend, a journey. All these things are created out of the magic of writing. Read more for a fun writing practice.
When I try to explain about how to write a topic sentence for an essay, the eyes of my students tend to glaze and the chatting begins. But when I offered them the opportunity to write a story in six words or less a la Hemingway, they were captivated. Ernest Hemingway wrote perhaps one of Read more about Mini Memoirs[…]
During the November full moon – called Frost Moon, or Beaver Moon, and in some places (probably farther north) Snow Moon by some Native American tribes – a poet-friend and I decided to try to collaborate on a poem together. He lives near the beach in Florida and I live in the mountains of New Read more about Creating a Poem[…]
A paper published recently in Psychological Science proposes that being disoriented makes the brain work harder and better. The two authors, Travis Proulx and Steven J. Heine, claim that our brains have evolved in a way that we are able to make predictions, and one way we do that is by identifying patterns. We don’t Read more about Nonsense Makes Us Smarter[…]
When my daughter was seventeen, and I was in my late forties, she remarked how sad it must be to grow old (she was focusing primarily on externals). I protested vehemently and pointed out that the view one has from a lifetime of experience makes all the difference in living. “You were cute as a Read more about Writing for the Ages[…]
The other day I was re-reading portions of one of my favorite books of all time: Meditations on the Tarot. The card known as The Tower, or Chaos, drew me in particular. The image is of a crumbling tower being struck by a bolt of lightning. Does it symbolize justice, wrath, fate, angry gods, or Read more about Do We Build a Story, or Do We Plant It?[…]
A long time ago someone (a man) read a book I wrote and was startled into saying, “Wow! You write like a man!” He meant it as a compliment. I thought a lot about this. Did you know that Charles Dickens, in 1858, wrote to a friend thusly about George Eliot’s Scenes of Clerical Life: Read more about Men and Women[…]
WriteSpa – An Oasis for Writers I’m in Los Angeles for a couple of weeks and something I’m reminded of is the importance of tag lines in the movie promotion biz. On the billboards advertising upcoming movies these little catchy soundbites or slogans seem as important as the movie title itself. They personify the plot Read more about WriteSpa #5 – Tag lines[…]
WriteSpa – An Oasis for Writers I hope you’re all having a wonderful summer. I’m currently in southern California, visiting family, including my daughter who attends college here, and my son who will be starting his freshman year next week. When my husband and I return home, our home will feel very different. I wrote Read more about WriteSpa #4 – Writing a fable[…]
I’ve written a lot about the importance of writing on a daily basis. That writing, like playing an instrument or a sport, needs daily practice. What is just as important is reading other peoples’ writing. Just like going to a terrific concert or watching a professional game is essential to one’s improvement, so is reading Read more about Read, read, read[…]
WriteSpa – An Oasis for Writers One of the hardest things to do is to write in a way that is not so much visual as it is moody. A lake can be ominous or serene with the lightest of adjectives. A look can be like a dagger or a rose – but it’s the Read more about WriteSpa #3 – Show, Don’t Tell[…]
WriteSpa – An Oasis for Writers Hypnompia is the state between sleeping and waking, and it’s the time when we writers do our best work. Remember, the act of writing is not just about putting pen to paper (metaphorically speaking). It’s also about daydreaming, making up stories, reading a lot, thinking about words: their meaning Read more about WriteSpa #2 – Recalling dreams backwards[…]
I’m in Los Angeles for a couple of weeks and something I’m reminded of is the importance of tag lines in the movie promotion biz. On the billboards advertising upcoming movies these little catchy soundbites or slogans seem as important as the movie title itself. They personify the plot and the mood of the film. Read more about Tag lines[…]
Close your eyes and imagine your favorite place in the world. This can be an imaginary place, or a place you know well. Now describe it as precisely as possible. Use all five senses in your detailed description; we tend stick to visuals when we describe things. But how does it smell? What are the Read more about Favorite Place[…]
WriteSpa – An Oasis for Writers Dear Friend, Welcome to my WriteSpa letter. Most of us write either because we’re under deadline or because we’ve been struck by a thunderbolt of inspiration. This pressure creates, at best, a stormy relationship with Writing. But the decision to write is a commitment as important as marriage. Writing Read more about WriteSpa #1 – Stimulating memory[…]
A concluding paragraph is the reader’s bridge from your story back to their own lives. In this exercise you’re going to try to connect the two in some way. Write a one-paragraph conclusion to a story that you haven’t written. You’ll need to resolve the story you’ve imagined. Without reiterating the tale, or summarizing, you Read more about Conclusions[…]