Children Sexually Abusing Other Children. Do You Look Away?

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Some weeks ago, a news item appeared in the Guardian about an issue often ignored in conversations on school problems: children sexually abusing other children. The issue rears its shameful, scary head every so often to outrage us and, maybe, … Continued

Those Festering Issues: Race and Culture

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Has anyone who’s lived within at least two cultures not been tempted to weigh in on the broiling issue of being “transracial”? Rachel Dolezal, former regional president of the NAACP, claimed she was black, but was recently outed as white … Continued

Crossing Cultures With Good Eats

Writing the multicultural experience A famous chef, James Beard, once said: Food is our common ground, a universal experience. Who could dispute that food is a universal experience? But is it really a common ground? I have my own prejudices … Continued

Living and Writing the Multicultural Experience

I’ve lived in different places. Born in some far-flung place, educated at universities in the US West and Mid-west, and currently residing in multicultural San Francisco Bay Area, I’ve also “lived” a few months at a time in Paris (several … Continued

Zen of Writing?

The Zen of Writing? An oxymoron, I’d say. At least, that’s my first reaction. In my mind, the act—but more specially the art—of writing requires you to be active and engaged. Bent over a ream of paper on a desk, … Continued

A Seventies American Pie Moment in Hello Agnieszka

Every decade has defining moments. The seventies have the American Pie moment. If you were alive and aware in that decade, how could you miss the Kent State shootings in 1970? The Munich massacre at the Olympics in ’72?  The … Continued

How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways

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How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of being and ideal grace. Elizabeth Barrett Browning … Continued

Live Inside Your Head: Romance in writing

If you live inside your head, people are likely to think you’re crazy. But doing so can actually be comforting. Productive, even. As I grew older, reality trounced my dreams one by one. I found myself retreating a little more … Continued

Feminism in Victorian Novels: Gaskell’s North and South

Feminism in Victorian Novels? Impossible. Not when the status of women placed them just a bit above spoiled children. But I found Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South and realized it wasn’t so. I had never heard of Ms. Gaskell until … Continued

As These Pages Turn—a Book in Hand

I tore open the cardboard packaging much too eagerly and my palms smarted from the vigorous peeling off of unyielding adhesive tapes. But it’s worth the rawness of a few minutes. I looked at this thing in my hand, dressed … Continued

Victorian Women: Variations in Margaret of the North

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Maybe in jest, Gaskell once said that she could title her fourth novel (North and South) “Variations on Death.” Five people die in her novel in ways fitting to the characters. I could have used a comparable title for my … Continued