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Creative Writing Coach

Want to express yourself through memoir, personal essays, poetry, or creative nonfiction? I want to help.

Explore Ideas

Sometimes we write to explore ideas that we can share, so that we can feel connected to the world, sharing what we know and think in the moment. Here are some recent works shared through Sustainable Contra Costa in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Is Energy Efficiency an American Value?

No, it’s not a Socialist idea. It’s as American as clean air and water, the Heartland, and Yosemite.

A Very Bad Greenhouse Gas that We Can Blow Away Today

Reducing Methane emissions is strong medecine for the planet.

From the Mountains to the Sea

Replacing plastic with materials we can reuse over and over again.

Explore Yourself

We write to know ourselves better. Here is a poem I wrote at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, when words seemed to fail me. But in writing this poem, I realized that throughout our lives we can open to new perspectives.

When Words Fail

Houses are to bodies
what stories are to souls.
Houses break; they crack under the strain
of the weather, burn in fire
and rot in water. So we heal them
or dismantle them and begin again
maybe recycling the old parts
adding a bathroom or a second story.
Stories break too. They throw us out
of themselves when done with us, or
become obsolete. They run out
of runway and can’t fly. They crack
under pressure and give us up
like a tree gives up fruit.
Words
drop to the ground and break.
We wander, story-less, in a harsh
environment with no imagination.
Evil men pick up the broken
words and ply them like weapons.

Maybe we were in
a homecoming story
or the lost and found.
So we moved from day to day
until we could go no further.
Our stories get ripped by failure
or can’t stand up under scrutiny.
New stories are like wineskins.
We’re the antihero who flips the world
upside down and disrupts the balance
of power. Or we quit doing something
we used to love. We notice that the people
we put in our stories now longer fit
our expectations. My mother can’t really.
New stories require new people
or renewed people
or new ways of seeing people.
Dad became a different person
More like a mom, really.
And we pick up old words
and mix them with some new words
put together into phrases, or mini stories.
The Tao. Dialectic. That Star Trek episode
where Kirk gets divided into
an asshole and a wimp; then he gets fused
into a new and better Kirk.
And then we are in a story again.
But words disappoint us, again.
Words are not deep enough
to hold our current sadness and grief
or strong enough to hold
our anger.
We wander a broken landscape.
Words become weapons as stories become lies.
He is our president. No he’s not.
We trusted her. Now we don’t.
We thought we were better than that.
We surprised ourselves with ourselves.
Didn’t know we could be that shallow
or hurt someone that much.
At best, for now
we’re a new concoction of light and dark.
And so on and so on

For more of my writing, click on the “Portfolio” tab above.