writing playshops – sign up now and save

Global warming has been identified as a significant cause of coral bleaching. In 2016, bleaching hit 90% of the coral of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and killed 20% of it, according to The United Nations Environment Programme.

What a loss! I feel disgusted. Human-caused global warming has destroyed a treasure we may never see again.  As a way to memorialize the reef and other lost and endangered natural places, I am developing an anthology called Dear Mother Nature, a collection of poems, stories, and essays exploring the loss of natural places and ways of life.

My first poem for the collection is below. Click the link to contribute your own writing. All profits from sales of this collection will benefit the Union of Concerned Scientists in their continuing efforts to study and publicize the truth about climate change and all scientific matters despite the current defunding by the Trump administration.



Dear Coral


Sorry we overheated your atmosphere,

we didn’t love and hold your nature dear,

we didn’t stop and reflect, take action

to slow our reckless overproduction.

I’m sorry you’re now white as a ghost

while our progress and technology we boast;

racing fast in our feckless deathstyle

no one takes a moment to think or smile

or just breathes deep and appreciates

what we have, before it evaporates.

Contribute to the community anthology:


(photos: left. Grendelkhan – Own work. Also available from my Flickr., CC BY-SA 3.0,; rt. Acropora at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons)


Succulent Solar Power


I love the burst of radiant green at the center of this succulent in the sunlight. We can grow truly beautiful plants and save water. The burst of light in the middle reminds me of solar power, all that energy filling me with its warm energy. I feel inspired just gazing into it.

How can we best use sunlight?

What beautiful visions might we create using sunlight for inspiration?

How can we best conserve all our natural resources while enjoying the amazing world that surrounds us?


The Mysterious Vanishing Island

Here an island once rose from the ocean. It has now nearly vanished beneath the waves due to rising sea levels and erosion.  It was one of five submerged islands ranging from 2.5 to 12.4 acres, part of the Solomon Islands archipelago near Australia. Although this island had no human population, neighboring populated islands have also been ravaged by rising waters. On Nuatumbu island nearby, villages were destroyed and people were forced to relocate.

In 2014, a resident of a nearby island filed a “climate refugee” status request with New Zealand, arguing that wealthy governments and corporations were destroying his home. He argued that, as one of the responsible nations, New Zealand should help him rebuild in a safe place. His appeal was denied.

But what can people do to make carbon-polluting countries and corporations act responsibly to save what’s left of the world, before more islands and communities are destroyed?

Read more about the disappearing islands:



Daily Thoughts – June 2, 2016


Let’s be Overcome by the Rich Fresh Wine of June! I found this poem by Marge Piercy recently. I love how full of imagery and life it is. Fecund and wild. This is how I feel in the morning before dawn, watching the sunrise and pondering the day ahead, full of so much.

More Than Enough
by Marge Piercy
The first lily of June opens its red mouth.
All over the sand road where we walk
multiflora rose climbs trees cascading
white or pink blossoms, simple, intense
the scene drifting like colored mist.
The arrowhead is spreading its creamy
clumps of flower and the blackberries
are blooming in the thickets. Season of
joy for the bee. The green will never
again be so green, so purely and lushly
new, grass lifting its wheaty seedheads
into the wind. Rich fresh wine
of June, we stagger into you smeared
with pollen, overcome as the turtle
laying her eggs in roadside sand.

I want to read this poem every day of June, loudly, preferably with thundering dance music driving its beat into my heart as I read. I want to bellow it out to my young class and have it fill them with eagerness and poetry and zest.

June, we stagger into you smeared/with pollen, overcome!


Sharing Dreams

cropped-cropped-picture4-001-e1396110305511.jpgWhat would the world be like if we were to all share the same dreams, if we all had the same nightly visions? I’m not talking about dreamers being able to interact, but simply experience the same narratives on the same nights. A series of six dreams, alternating light and dark in emotional content. After the sixth night, it begins again. That is the premise of my novel-in-progress.

Would it be a unifying force for the world? Would you believe it indicated some unifying message for humanity, lessons we could follow? Or would it be more sinister, a kind of controlling, homogenizing force? What if these were lucid dreams, and people could control of make new things of them within the shared framework? What do you think?


A Thorough Process

How do you maintain the balance between passion and precision in your writing? For me it takes a four-step process. Having a process I can follow, something to rely on when the words refuse to come, when my mind feels numb and sluggish, is essential. The specific process you choose will, of course, be individual to you, as long as it works.

My Process:

  1. Write longhand. I love the feeling of the pen tip on the paper, watching the physical marks appear on the page. I love how fast I write this way, thoughts pouring out in a river across the page. It’s a metaphor, sure, but that image deepens my process.
  2. Type it in. I’ll naturally correct, add, and delete as I go, crafting and shaping the raw words and ideas from Step 1.
  3. Print and edit. Now, from a reader’s point of view, I pore over my manuscript, marking it up, filling in any missing details, crossing out extraneous verbiage and dead end thoughts, sharpening each dull word.
  4. Type it in again. Now the passion of the process starts bubbling again as I rediscover and heighten my original intentions while intermixing the ideas I generated as I edited, uncovering new perspectives and honing my expression.

This process may go through many cycles depending on the project’s scope. The writing becomes an internal dialogue, a series of logical leaps and bursts of passionate insight.

How about you? What’s your process?


My Day in Longhand #4: Dipping Into the Prize Chest


In my work with children and teens, I’ve found extrinsic rewards helpful in promoting a sense of play and excitement. After a session of difficult reading comprehension work, or a barrage of sensory cognitive stimulation for more accurate reading, who wouldn’t want a bit of a reward, a dip into the Prize Chest?

For me, writing in the morning, in the predawn stillness as the sky turns azure and blazing orange over the Victorian next door, the smell of robust coffee wafting about the kitchen, is its own reward. But when I come home from seven hours of remedial language processing work, nearly as drained as my students, I definitely appreciate incentives for my writing, when rewards of renown and remuneration seem so distant. So I’ve decided to give myself small incentives for working on my novel, for advertising workshops,for writing these blog posts.

It might be a stop at a coffee shop on the way home from work, a song download, or even a five minute dance break when I get to jump out of my seat and bounce around like a monkey, rock out to my favorite dance track, and just let my body go wild and free. Sometimes, as writers, we need to let ourselves go wild and indulge.  Schedule those indulgences. Write them down and track your progress toward your goals, giving yourself fun along the way.