Friday, June 27, 2014

Writing Coaching for Mamma Writers

Are you looking for a writing coach? As a writer mamma, I understand how difficult it can be to find time to write and schedule a class or coaching session. I am available to work with you in-person (in the Washington, D.C. area), via phone or video conference (Skype, Facetime or another favorite service.) I understand your limitations and will be as flexible as possible.

I've been working as a writing teacher since 2005, when I graduated with my M.F.A. in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Let me know how I can help you.

Don't miss the July 4th sale: book three hours and receive a *free* fourth hour!

For more information, click through to my writing coach page.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Libraries & Kids

Check it out!

Most writers are fans of public libraries and I’m particularly smitten with the D.C. Public Library System.

We’ve spent a lot of time with our bambino at the various locations near us. Almost every day, one or more of the branches host something fun and educational for children. We’ve attended the Baby Laptime, although it is time to move up to the next level for walkers / one year olds. 

Our son, who is not yet in daycare, has the chance to meet other kids, learn from and play with them. We’ve practiced new songs and games and he’s started to interact with larger groups of children while hearing books read outside of the home. I've also had some lovely conversations with other caregivers.The reinforcement and skills, couched in games and laughter, is perfect.

Most of the branches have large children’s areas with a great selection of books, including board books and foreign language books, with a play area, small chairs and tables, and games, like puzzles. It is a good place to stop by even for a short time.

Read more about the D.C. Public Library’s Storytime events and the general calendar to find the right event and location for you.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Making time to play and explore

I'm not that flexible. I can barely touch my toes anymore and I hate to leave a mess in the sink. This lifestyle doesn't describe parenting, which consists of many unplanned and messy moments.

Parenthood requires you to make a plan (naps, feedings, playdates), but then change it as necessary, which is more often than I ever imagined. There is always work, housework and other things to do, but if baby needs you, he needs you. Writing is the same.

Sometimes I feel creative and produce new poems. Light, images, words and flavors inspire metaphors and connections. Other times I feel more definitive and can edit, cut and organize my writing. Long stretches of uninterrupted time serve both approaches well.

Time, let alone long stretches of uninterrupted time, don't generally exist for me anymore. And the list of things to do is longer than ever.

I'm learning to take deep breaths, let my shoulders relax and try to juggle the joys, work and sudden emergencies. By trying to be more flexible and respond to what's happening in that moment, there have been discoveries - an impromptu fort with a blanket over out of place chairs or a sorting game based on tossed washcloths on the floor.

The same can happen with poems - the hot sun is behind clouds and it is a perfect opportunity to go out for a walk, regardless of the state of the (particularly dirty) laundry. Look how the sunlight peeks through the clouds and a deer walks across the sidewalk towards the park. And look at how my son notices the shadows, too, as he moves his hand around in the air and watches the sidewalk shadows.

You never know what happens, but it won't happen if you only follow your prescribed plans.

I need to keep remembering that. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Gun Safety? School Safety?

With today's school shooting outside of Portland, Oregon, there have been 74 school shootings since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. 74. Vox offers a map of the shootings based on data from Everytown for Gun Safety. We need to unite for safety.

As a human, American, woman, mother, wife, former student, I'm stunned that we live in this world. I shouldn't be, right? I remember watching the news reports from the Columbine high school, Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, as well as others. I watched Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine and We Need to Talk about Kevin starring Tilda Swinton, neither of which I could ever forget. This violence is a uniquely American phenomenon.

It is clear that guns kill people. Maybe I've lived too urban of a life to understand the interest or need that some people have for hunting guns, but it is clear that guns do not belong in schools. Schools are a place of learning for children who expect and require to be kept safe by adults.

We don't need religion or politics to highlight a wrong like this. Freedom is not living in fear of random and quick violence.

Find an organization you believe in, like Everytown for Gun Safety, and donate or participate in their actions to help change laws to keep our children and educators safe.

Learn to stay safe and teach your friends, family and children the same, regardless of where you live in this country. This wikiHow page encourages running, hiding and protecting yourself. The American Psychology Association gives advice as to how to talk to your children about school shootings.  

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Summer and Birthdays

Our son recently turned one and I have a birthday coming up. It is cliche, but seriously, where does the time go? It is suddenly hot, humid and June. I've been figuring out how to apply suntan lotion to a squirmy toddler and we've been spending a lot more time outdoors.

While it isn't officially summer yet, our new summer routine is starting.  I'll be continuing to teach online, work with private clients and write. I'm also excited to scoot away to a friend's house later this month for an unofficial writing residency (and maybe some nap time.)

I'm hoping to catch up on some reading. What's on your reading list? Family Trouble: Memoirists on the Hazards and Rewards of Revealing Family and some back issues of the literary magazines Poet Lore and the Bellevue Review are first on my list.

The bambino and I have been going to the library for baby lap time and we're ready to graduate to the next level of classes. The D.C. library system is fantastic; there's something happening for little kids everyday somewhere in the city. And seeing my son interact with other kids and books while being surrounded by books is just perfect.

Here's to a summer of words and sunshine!