Category Archives: Volta

The People’s MFA

I have a new essay on Neil Fein’s Magnificent Nose today about the People’s MFA, and about a particular session taught by Professor Michael Chabon. I’ve been thinking for some time about the process by which writers consciously and unconsciously model, … Continue reading

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(The following is a version of the speech I gave at my son Isaac’s bar mitzvah last weekend. To illustrate the point before I began, I took off my high-heeled shoes and stood next to him in front of the … Continue reading

Posted in Motherhood, Volta | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Expanding the Universe

This week, a guest post from Ruth Hansen about the crucial role the arts play in expanding our circles of compassion. Acting teacher Sanford Meisner defined acting as no less than living truthfully in imaginary circumstances.  Actors are trained to imagine … Continue reading

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Lobbing Nerf Rocks

At a workshop I attended recently, Emmy Laybourne, author of the Monument 14 series, shared a rule, well-known among screenwriters, that I had never heard before: “Chase your character up a tree and throw rocks at him.” It’s smart advice: … Continue reading

Posted in Books & Libraries, Motherhood, Volta, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Anti-Debate

If you like to get drunk, Presidential debate drinking games will never let you down. You can’t possibly lose. Candidates portion out their stump speeches into 2-minute chunks, answer the questions they feel like answering rather than the ones they’re … Continue reading

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An Imperfect Conduit

“… what they did for this country is still etched in the minds of not only you, but millions of Americans, forever. That’s why it’s so important that this memorial be preserved and go on for our children and our … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Volta | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

The Girl on the Garden State Parkway

A few years ago, I was driving north on the Garden State Parkway after attending a full-day graduate class. I was tired, and the trip home would take well over an hour. I harmonized with the radio to keep awake. … Continue reading

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Against Positive Attitudes

A few days ago, I lost someone I cherish, my mother-in-law of seventeen years, Marjorie Feldman Springer, who died of an extremely aggressive form of leukemia. Marge was a vivacious, energetic, athletic person, who biked, hiked, swam, played a devastating … Continue reading

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Adventures in Bothmind

I grew up both. Both Catholic and Jewish. Both an only child and the youngest of four. Both middle and working class. Both a child of the 70s and 80s and, by accidents of birth and history, a very late … Continue reading

Posted in Volta | Tagged , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Confession of Love

Dear Facebook, I don’t know if this letter will come as a shock to you after all this time. I mean, it’s been three years now since your digital charms overcame my bookish resistance (it was February 27, 2009, not that … Continue reading

Posted in Criticism, Volta | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments