Outrunning Your Inner Critic in Writing and also in Life

I am teaching an online class for Story Circle Network right now called, “Crafting Flash Writing.” One of the key components of the class is to encourage my students to outrun their inner critic by writing as fast as they can. I tell them to set a timer and let those fingers fly. No need…

Good Luck, Jennifer, With Your Stanford Interview

One of my students, Jennifer Nham, has an interview with Stanford tomorrow. She is a young Vietnamese-American girl who is applying as a chemical engineering major. She is smart and charming, but just a little shy so, hopefully, she can overcome her natural tendency to be quiet and push herself to let the interviewer get…

Why Reading Huck Finn is Important Today

I have read recently that The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been removed from the list of required reading for high school students in many districts around the country. The use of the n-word and accusations of racism appear to be the main reasons, along with material that made students “uncomfortable.” Below is a piece…

Update on Baby Ethan From His Adoring Grandma

Today, baby Ethan is 7 weeks and 2 days old. He weighs a little over ten pounds and has bright blue eyes. He is alert, very attached to his mommy and daddy, and likes to give his Grandma Len kisses on the cheek. Well, he isn’t really kissing. He is actually bobbing open-mouthed on my…

Gifts from Ray: Blue Zone Recipes and Challenge

Today, Ray gave me three books that he ordered for my birthday. They are The Blue Zone Challenge: A 4-Week Plan for a Longer, Better Life, The Blue Zone American Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100, and The Blue Zone Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100 all by Dan Buettner. I must say…

Fire

I am sitting in front of the fireplace here in Los Angeles, enjoying the fire. The grandfather clock is ticking rhythmically, cars are racing up and down the street outside, and whatever Ray is watching on television upstairs periodically features someone singing snippets of a song. (I think I heard a verse of Leonard Cohen’s…

5-Star Homemade Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

I made this homemade chicken pot pie this morning complete with the double pie crust and I am here to say this is an excellent recipe. Ray and I gobbled it down with gusto. To be honest, this is not a dish you can throw together quickly. You have several steps to complete to get…

Flash Fiction: A Matter of the Heart

We were standing in the park late one afternoon, the sky the color of slate, when he said, “It’s a matter of the heart.” “No,” I said. “It’s reality.” “My heart says no.” I stared at the kids on the merry-go-round. “We can’t pay our rent.” “We can’t leave.” “We need to eat.” “We love…

Tonight

Raindrops drum on the metal roof Each drop A connection to the sky above The rhythmic pitter-patter Soothes I breathe deeper Shoulders relax I feel safe Swaddled in the dark night