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…

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…

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…

Start with the Squirrels.

  “The oldest human longing is self-revelation” Zora Neale Hurston, novelist and ethnographer Lately, I have been thinking about the memoir my father never wrote. I see him in his beige leather recliner, legal pad in lap, poised to scribe a remarkable life: from Depression era chicken farm to college, to a tuberculosis sanitarium, and then back to college— emaciated and still getting pneumothorax treatments, he was one of the few men on campus during … Read more…

Live Free & Laugh

  I have always considered myself an optimist. So, I had tired of my young daughter’s daily complaints  each afternoon when she climbed into the back seat of the car after a grueling day of 3rd grade. Before she could describe the unpleasantry of playground politics, I instructed her to tell me one good thing.  “The cafeteria had grilled cheese today,”was good enough.  This habit helped.  After she had described a small positive event, Susanna seemed … Read more…