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Responding to the Child Refugee Crisis

Imagine that you are a parent living in a country ruled by lawless gangs that force children into the drug trade or prostitution with the credible threat of violence. Would you pay a few hundred dollars to a smuggler to take your child to relatives in the United States to secure their safety? Read more

Going Back to College…Sort Of

I’m attending the month-long New York State Summer Writers Institute at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. It’s like summer camp for nerdy people who love books. Read more

Spotting the Bad Guy

The phenomenon of “trigger warnings” on college campuses has been in the news lately. The term refers to a growing practice by university officials of advising students in advance that material to be covered in class may adversely affect victims of past traumas. I am uneasy about a trend to expand the number of subjects covered in trigger warnings, but not for the reasons commonly expressed in the media.

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Lessons Learned from Frank McCourt

I was a junior at Stuyvesant H.S. when I was finally able to take Frank McCourt’s much-coveted creative writing class.  Stuyvesant was indeed a magical place for kids like me, the daughter of immigrants who could not afford tuition at the elite private schools that offered a comparable education.   Read more

Creating Mental Space

A few years ago, when I started writing fiction again, I looked to Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft for guidance.  I took to heart what he said about what makes a good writer, including his tips on work habits.  I just had to make some adjustments to deal with my reality back then.  Read more

Returning to the Craft

How does one figure out what to do professionally?  A successful woman executive advised in an article I read that if you are unsure about your career path, do the following exercise: think about the first badge you earned as a Girl Scout.   Read more