What Lies Beneath

Dateline—May 2016, Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks I am at dinner in our hotel in the Grand Tetons. At the table next to ours, a woman and her pre-school grandson sit, heads-together and leaning over a book. “That is the sacred heart of Jesus!” the grandmother says. I recall this image from my Catholic girlhood. The child probably wonders, like I did, why Jesus wears his heart on the outside of his robe. It’s … Read more…

Write A Winning College Application Essay

Join other rising high school seniors for a three-session workshop where you’ll create and refine your college application essay.  Work with a group of sympathetic peers who feel pressured to impress strangers at their colleges-of-choice. Workshop will meet Thursdays— July 7, 14, and 23— at Studio 123 at Mellwood Arts Center, Louisville, for 1.5 hours each time. Each session will begin at 9:30 AM  Here is what you can expect: You will brainstorm ideas based on writing prompts, using real-life examples of personal narrative … Read more…

Dramatic Writing Workshop

“Yes, I have tricks in my pocket, I have things up my sleeve. But I am the opposite of a stage magician. He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth. I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion.” ~Tennessee Williams~ Join a four-week workshop Begins, Wednesday, March 30 (meets consecutive Wednesdays through April 20) 6:30 to 8:30 PM Shape & Flow Studio, #123 Mellwood Arts  Center Cost:  $100 For aspiring drama … Read more…

Moscow Underground

“But why do you want to go to Russia?” Our answers varied, depending upon the audience: Because it is a very old country; Because John loves Russian literature; Because it is our 30th anniversary, and we want to do something amazing.” The tone of the repeating question, “Why Russia?” resembled the question that our suburban neighbors asked when we moved to urban Old Louisville six years ago. “Why do you want to move down there?” they said. Such … Read more…

On Misremembering

  Here is how I remember the scene. My nine-year old daughter has fashioned a muslin prairie bonnet, the kind Laura Ingalls Wilder would wear. She will dress as a pioneer for the school Thanksgiving program, where teachers will showcase costumed students for adoring parents and extended family. “Look mom!” she says, modeling the bonnet. It resembles a handkerchief with earflaps. I say, “That’s lovely, but wouldn’t you like to ask the nice dress-up clothes lady to make one of those … Read more…

A Welcome Eulogy

Once again, we’ve survived that time of year when we are to relax and enjoy life, loved ones, and humanity in general, while squeezing into the doors of overcrowded big box stores.  One tradition, sometimes mocked, is the annual Christmas (aka holiday) letter. I’m a big advocate of the well written holiday letter.  Why? It’s an epistolary composition, which creates the purest voice for the writer. Below is a letter about writing letters, which I first published in Today’s Woman Magazine. It contains some general … Read more…

On Accessibility

Let me share a bit of exposition. Among the literati in the writing community, accessibility is not a virtue.  In a workshop, while studying for my MFA, a writing colleague attempted a polite critique. “Your writing . . . it’s . . . well . . . so accessible.” You might think that being understood is commendable. Alas, in the literary world, “you are SO accessible,” is similar to the sentiment conveyed when a kindly southern … Read more…

Minding the Gap

  I place two coffee cups gently on the counter, as if each is fragile antique china I had picked up at Portobello market.  The mugs feature a map of the London Underground and the ubiquitous subway warning, “Mind the Gap.” “I’ve been looking for these all over London,” I announce to the clerk in the duty free shop at Heathrow Airport.  It is an hour before our plane will return to the United States, after … Read more…

Moscow Underground: A Travel Essay

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” ~Henry Miller~ “But why do you want to go to Russia?”  Our answers varied, depending upon the audience: “Because it is a very old country.” “Because John loves Russian literature.” “Because it is our 30th anniversary, and we want to do something amazing.” The tone of the repeating question, “Why Russia?” resembled the question that our suburban neighbors asked when we moved … Read more…

Well-behaved Bunnies Rarely Make Literature.

“She’s going to be a great adult.” This nugget of wisdom, offered by my daughter’s 4th grade teacher during a school conference, was a comfort. Few teachers had recognized the diamond within my daughter’s core. Liz was not sweetly compliant, as most girls seem to be. She “questioned authority” before it became a bumper sticker. The phrase, “She’ll make a great adult” provided hope for the long-term welfare of my adventurous child. As soon as … Read more…