In the 70's our next-door neighbor’s dog bit off the face of the kid that lived up the street. The boy’s blood starred the sidewalk in a constellation that stained the white concrete for years.

As the boy went into surgery the neighbors whispered that he shouldn’t… Read full post »

JULY 19, 2012 2:40AM

The Wasteland

 

I thought apocalypse jokes were funny before I was in one.

Knock knock, who's there?

No answer.

I don't have answers for anything anymore because for me, the world that I knew ended last April when my close family friend Rachel's baby… Read full post »

JULY 2, 2012 1:09AM

A Child's Workout

 

I brought my youngest daughter Margaret to the doc last week for a check up.

"How many minutes a day does your daughter exercise?" the check-in lady asked me.  Clipboard in hand.

"I don't know.  She's eight years old.  She plays."

"We suggest an hour…

Read full post »

JULY 6, 2011 4:37PM

A Pink Rose for Grace

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A few years ago my writer group friend Vanessa Diffenbaugh submitted the first pages of her new novel for me to critique during our next meeting. Vanessa always wrote with courage. I expected to like the pages.

I didn't expect the pages to yank my heart… Read full post »

The word recession would be pretty if I didn't know what it meant. It's whispery like water flowing over stones.  As with gonorrhea and effluvium, it sounds kind of nice unless you know (or have lived) the meaning.  Meaning changes everything.   

Here is a list of some American Dre… Read full post »

JUNE 29, 2011 11:18PM

Wednesday Woman: Lora

My friend Lora is getting married this weekend.  A wedding is one of the few important rituals we have in our culture.  We make a big deal about weddings and we should.  Marriage is important and sacred, but weddings celebrate more than marriage.  Weddings mark transitions of iden… Read full post »

JUNE 20, 2011 12:15PM

Monday Man: Mr. Knightley

There is a good man shortage in America.  Read the news if you don't believe me.  We are in a good man drought. I know some good guys, and if you're one of  those, don't think I don't see you. However if you are taking money you haven't earned, ignoring your… Read full post »

Nobody makes one of my favorite things anymore.  In a mid nineties corporate takeover that rocked the foundation of my world, Bic swallowed up Sheaffer and decided to stop production of their inexpensive and glorious fountain pens.   
All through college and my early twenties I c… Read full post »

JUNE 13, 2011 1:02PM

Finding Superman

Two of my novels are about teenaged boys whose parents have failed them completely. The characters are left alone to try to grow into good people in a world filled with violence, greed and mayhem. In other words, stories not unlike the real lives of most of my… Read full post »

JUNE 10, 2011 11:23AM

Books of Obvious Advice

I have to say what I feel about bestselling books full of obvious advice.

Do you know what I mean by obvious advice? Maybe you are at a party and casually mention that your muscles are sore from a workout. You’re only mentioning this to make conversation or to draw attention… Read full post »

MAY 10, 2011 12:45AM

Wild Thing

 I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself.

A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough

Without ever having felt sorry for itself.

            D.H. Lawrence

I thought of the D.H. Lawrence poem “Wild Thing” today while… Read full post »

APRIL 5, 2011 10:23PM

My Twelve Sons

I acquired twelve sons last August.

The charter high school where I work has an advisory program in which a teacher looks after a group of around twelve students, ideally over the course of their entire four years.  The advisory class meets for thirty minutes every school day.  We study, si… Read full post »

MARCH 22, 2011 1:17PM

Tiger Mother

My shoe is broken.  The button on the strap popped off before Thanksgiving and the piece of leather flaps around when I walk.   The shoes are my only real pair for work.  When I bought them two years ago I needed them to last a little longer than they did.… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 7, 2010 10:22PM

The Key

Don’t admire me for being a teacher.  Teaching is easy.  There I said it.  My secret is out.

Teaching has been easy for me since I was a twenty-one year old college graduate taking credential classes at night and substitute teaching during the day.  The district office paid… Read full post »

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Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 3, 2010 2:43PM

Superman Waiting

I attended a private screening today of Davis Guggenheim’s documentary Waiting for Superman.  I sat in the theatre alongside other teachers, heads of universities, candidates for school board, administrators of local charter schools.  Afterwards, a panel made up of a recording star, aRead full post »

JUNE 28, 2010 11:34PM

Just Wait Until She's A Teenager

The other day my two daughters and I went to the neighborhood pool.  My teenager put sunscreen on her little sister.  Then she took her hand and led her to the big pool where she carried her to the deep end.  Where she tirelessly held her arms out to catch the… Read full post »

JUNE 28, 2010 10:06AM

Seventeenth Summer

I was seventeen years old during the summer of 1987.

I was a young seventeen.  Imaginative but wholly undisciplined.  Deeply in love with my boyfriend.

My boyfriend and I had few shared interests.  He didn’t like swimming or dance clubs.  I had… Read full post »

JUNE 22, 2010 1:51AM

Your Teacher in the Summertime

I stand in front on the classroom.  I’m still and waiting, dry erase marker in my hand.  You will not run into me at the grocery store or the pool.  It’s so weird to see your teacher out and about.  You expect your teacher to be in the classroom.  When your… Read full post »

JUNE 21, 2010 10:38AM

Why I Write Novels

A student called me a sponge today.  He said I absorb everything people say to me.  I think he meant it as a warning to other students.  Watch out for this one, she’s tricky.  She’ll absorb you.

 I do absorb the energy and stories of the people I… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 27, 2010 12:25AM

Why I Hate the Last Day of School

Imagine working over the course of a year with a large group of good people.  They are energetic and intelligent people, each with a fascinating story that they have unveiled to you slowly as you’ve earned their trust over dozens of daily trials and errors and proofs that it will all… Read full post »

MAY 17, 2010 12:45AM

Open Call: Proud Paragraph(s)

          We faced the great expanse with the Shiprock in the far distance.   Mom pressed her forehead against the gritty earth in a silent prayer to the mountains. 

            I wrap/Read full post »

MAY 15, 2010 10:34PM

My 12. Don't Judge Me.

I know I'm shallow.  I don't want to hear it.

1.  Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet.  Visually juicy and the soundtrack is so good it makes me want to bite someone.

 2.  Bandits.  Gorgeous, funny, and has everybody in it I like.

 3. Brother From Another Planet.  Ea… Read full post »

MAY 12, 2010 12:30AM

As a Friend Moves Away

One of the most important people in my life is moving away. She is my friend Vanessa and she and her dashing and brilliant husband and gorgeous children are moving three thousand miles away to Boston in a couple of months.

My husband is my best friend but… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 4, 2010 11:43PM

Those Who Can't Do, Teach

Addendum:  Two of my students won the Regional Finals and are going on to L.A. for the Finals! 

 

I’ve always hated the saying those who can’t do, teach.  Teaching is a lot of doing.   Not only is the adage insulting, it is inaccurate. Read full post »

MAY 2, 2010 8:51PM

A Reflection on Jaime Escalante

A few weeks ago, a teacher died. 

I only knew about his life and death because Hollywood made a movie celebrating his success teaching AP Calculus to poor, inner city students.  The movie was called StandRead full post »