Striving for a Better Life: The Story Of One of My Students

I am working with one young man, Fong, who is a Vietnamese American whose parents stowed away in a cargo ship to escape the brutal Communist regime in Vietnam in the late 1980’s. They were granted political asylum in the U.S. and are citizens. Fong is a UCLA graduate and is applying to medical school….

College Essay Central

This has been a heavy college essay day. I had three students for two hours each and three students (triplets) for an hour and a half meeting with their parents at Mel’s Diner. (They are from Florida and have been visiting colleges in CA). Lots of good discussion and writing going on, I must say….

Delving Deeper for Great College Essays

I have been working with students on college essays over the past few days, using shared Google docs and the telephone. It is always an interesting process and this year is no different. Part of the fun of college essays is that we dig deep, looking for experiences that carry real heft. This is not…

The Room Where I Write

The room I am sitting in has a red Persian rug, a brown leather couch, a green brocade wing back chair (plus ottoman), a green Morris chair (plus ottoman), a cane back rocking chair, an art deco blondish coffee table and a low oak table upon which rests our television set. The curtains (which are…

Learning from a Young Student’s Life Story

Today I worked with a young man who is finishing UCLA and applying to medical school. For his personal statement, he told me about his life growing up in a studio apartment with five other people while his dad worked as a bag boy at a local Asian grocery store. This boy’s grandparents and his…

Award-Winning Student Essay: To Hold a Hand

A student of mine, Lona Tehrani, wrote a superb college essay that deals with the transgender restroom issue that recently has gotten so much press. This essay won a regional Silver Key award from the Scholastic Artists and Writers contest, the oldest and most prestigious art and writing contest for youth in grades 7 –…

Saying Goodbye to One of My Graduating Seniors

I just had my last session with a boy with whom I have worked since he was in middle school. He is graduating from high school in just a few weeks and going off to college. He will be going to school locally so it is highly likely that we will continue to work together…

Last Days of My “Writing Short” Class

10:22 pm. I have been working on¬†the final critiques and line editing for my Story Circle Network¬†“Writing Short” class, which is on writing Flash Fiction and Flash Memoir. The class officially ends on Monday. I had the special treat of meeting three of my students in this class at the Stories of the Heart conference…

Eli Aminpour: Heading to Stanford for a Summer Research Fellowship

I am very pleased to announce that my writing student Eli Aminpour has been awarded the highly competitive Dr. Michael P. Fischbein Fellowship in Cardiothoracic Surgery Research at Stanford University. Eli, a Beverly Hills High School junior, will head to Stanford for 8 weeks this summer to learn research techniques and conduct research projects in…

When Life Presses In

I have been playing catch up all evening, communicating with the Story Circle Network online teachers about the upcoming term and responding to reading comments and writing submissions from my current online flash fiction/flash memoir class. This week has been a whirlwind of activity centered around students, family and church. I had two solid days…