Wednesday, December 16, 2015


to write is to write is to write is to write is to write is to write ...

All these books have helped me enormously and I recommend them highly:

1)  THE PLOT WHISPERER  by Martha Alderson

Provides detailed help with plotting.
There is a workbook that goes with it, but you don't need both.
The plotting exercises helped me. I hung a very long piece of white paper in my hall and I drew a sloping line and wrote down all my plot points. This really helped give me a sense of direction and connect visually to my main character's journey.

2) PAGE BY PAGE by Heather Sellers 

Helps when you are unsure. Tells you that it is okay to carve out a space in your life to write. The author tells of setting up a cardboard box in her living room, so she could have her own space to work and find her voice.

3) ON WRITING by Stephen King 

Everyone loves this book. King is humorous and explains what works for him. He chronicles his journey and struggles early in his career.

4) THE WRITER'S JOURNEY by Christopher Vogel

The mythic structure for storytellers and screenwriters.
This book has been very influential. Commonly used, but often not fully understood.
What does the hero's journey, anti-hero, call to adventure and refusal of the call really mean?

5) THE CHILDREN'S WRITER'S WORD BOOK, 2nd edition, by Alijandra Mogilner and Tayopa Mogilner 

A dictionary by age and word; helps gear vocabulary to the right age group. Very helpful. Though I am not sure that one should follow it always because kids like to read books with interesting vocabulary, sometimes beyond their grade level.

What books have been helpful to you? 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

A Waldorf School in Kenya

The Rudolf Steiner School Mbagathi Nairobi

These are photos from the Waldorf school I taught at in Kenya. I was there for three years, from 1996-1999. I love the place and I loved teaching the kids -- some were bused in from the city, others others were faculty kids. It was a great mixture -- probably the most diverse elementary school in Kenya.
And true to Waldorf Philosophy, the curriculum included watercolor painting, sewing and flute, singing and drama. What school in America offers that?
Actually, Waldorf Schools do -- in the U.S. and internationally.
I love Waldorf and am so proud to be a trained Waldorf teacher.

If you have any interest in sponsoring a child at this school, contact me and or go to the school's website:

A few hundred dollars can pay for a child's education for the entire year. And the kids are so grateful.

If you have any questions, let me know.

Thanks so much!!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

All my journals...

This is only a smattering of all the journals I have written. When I was traveling overseas and teaching in Kenya for three years, I kept many journals. Before that, in college, I sketched in my journals when I was bored, on trains and buses, when waiting in airports. 

It started in high school - I went to a boarding school for my last two years. A friend there, who'd lived in England and was an excellent writer, enlightened me, She said, "You don't have to write in a diary everyday, or only write about what happened that day etc. You can just write whatever you want!" Wow, I thought, and took a gold rimmed journal that I'd gotten as a present for my Bat Mitzvah and just started writing and drawing whatever and whenever.

I wrote dreams and thoughts, wishes and hopes. All my feelings went into those books. And I didn't have to say what happened that day, if I didn't want to. I had total permission to be myself inside those pages. 

I also used them to write "just for fun." 
Fun writing exercises involved just describing a scene I was witnessing somewhere -- for example, on the New York subway, Or I would draw the face of  a person on the subway. The writing I did sometimes became stories later. Occasionally a character would pop in my head and I would write a character sketch.

For a long time, I felt like the journals were not my most brave expression of myself. That they were a way to hide, to not get published, to evade the public eye, to be private. Perhaps I feared I would always stay a "closeted" writer,  But it was not meant to be. 

The journals were warm ups and continue to be. I still keep a joural nearby -- to write down thoughts, feeling, memories and dreams. 

I urge everyone who is writing and wants to write to keep a journal and share your journal stories here? How old were you when you began writing? Was it in the form of a diary or journal? What are the dangers of journaling --are there any?