Beating the Winter Blues

I felt lonely and bored and gloomy. How could this be? I was traveling in Tuscany, where ochre villas rise along winding roads lined with cypress trees. Dreamy countryside, friendly people, delicious food. But I was affected by the weather. Day after day of overcast skies had brought me down. I needed a plan to lift my mood. And I came up with one that worked.

The Thrill of Extreme Sports

Some people thrive on the thrills of skydiving and hang gliding. But for others, life is death-defying enough without risky sports.

I'll Stop Procrastinating Later

I looked to comic Tina Fey for advice about procrastination, but all she had to say was, “If you think writing is hard, try managing a Chili’s on Friday night.”

Can Myers-Briggs Tell a Couple If They’re Compatible?

The Myers-Briggs Personality Test may provide clues to whether a relationship will work between an introvert writer and an extrovert psychologist.
Cleopatra Isn't Welcome Here

Cleopatra Isn't Welcome Here

Cleopatra was scented with oil of roses and violets, almond and honey. Here, she would be a social outcast: we live in a fragrance-free zone.

Be in Your Body and Write From the Heart

Good writing is about connecting emotionally with our readers. Call it inspiration (breathing in, being alive). Call it intuition. This is the place I want to write from. This is the heart of the matter.s

Writing in Italy

We hear a put-put-put and look up to see a grandma arriving at the piazza on her Vespa. In her enormous yellow helmet, which is perched on her housedress-clad body, she looks like an insect from another planet. As we explore Italy, these unexpected images bring each scene alive.

When Your Consultant Becomes Your Insultant

I cringed as the customer approached and my assistant said, "That silver necklace looks great with your gray roots." What should I do when my consultant became my insultant?
The Pen is Mightier Than the Fork

The Pen is Mightier Than the Fork

If the thought of family gatherings sends you running for another helping of stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, consider writing to sort through emotions and uncover your stories.

Top Three Ways to Avoid Getting Published

Have you run down the road toward publication, then screeched to a halt at the thought of actually getting into print? Suddenly you're thinking, How could I have ever thought this was good? Here are three surefire ways to live in obscurity, get no recognition, and make no connection with readers.

The Zen Secret of Going With the Flow

It didn't feel like we were going with the flow. The instructions on how to enter the zendo to meditate sounded more like a military operation. Then we learned how the formalities of Zen practice could help us be present for whatever thoughts and feelings arose. That's when we went with the flow.

Overcoming the Paralysis of Perfectionism

By the time I'd perfected my writing, the topic had become obsolete. Then I learned how to push past perfectionism to keep my writing flowing and get it out into the world.
Welcome to Daddy's Bird Cafe

Welcome to Daddy's Bird Cafe

Throughout his Brooklyn boyhood, Dad had dreamed of creating this Shangri-La, his quarter acre of paradise on Long Island. Now as he surveyed his estate through the kitchen window, he began to yell in alarm.

Truman Capote: Self-Described "Tough Little Bitch"

"I look like a tough little bitch in that one." Truman Capote cocks his head and points to his full-length oil portrait. I was unprepared for this outburst, let alone his oddity.
Are Your Wearing a Good Bra for Mother's Day?

Are Your Wearing a Good Bra for Mother's Day?

"Are you wearing a good bra?" my mother asked in a tone that made every woman in the store freeze and tighten her shoulder straps. Mom's lessons extended beyond undergarments and have helped both my writing and my life.

Where the Rubber Plantation Meets the Road

Our white Ambassador sedan wound from the Arabian Sea to India’s Cardamom Hills, past an elephant with his mahout and sacred cows lounging in the center of the road. As we entered a dimly lit rubber plantation, I saw white sap dripping down smooth tree trunks, rows of silent sentries in the shadowed woods.

Writing Buddy to the Rescue!

Sandhya wrote lyrically about aunties wrapped in silk saris, serving tea and sweets to suitors. I was from New York; my writing was sassy, bitter-funny. Though our writing styles and content were worlds apart, we decided to become writing buddies.

The Palette of Place Brings Writing Alive

As we plowed the sea green waters of Venice's Grand Canal, past pink palazzos and creamy villas, a domed Palladio church emerged ghostly through the mist, floating above the waterline. On a rainy day in Venice or under the Tuscan sun, the palette of place adds mood and emotional content to our writing.

Getting to Om With Pen and Ink

After my house burned down, I discovered writing as a way to center myself, be present, and tap into inspiration and creativity.