Saturday, January 9, 2016


I'm teaching poetry in my adult class right now, and we have been focusing on "showing, not telling", a very similar adage for anyone who has taken a creative writing class before in college.   A resolution that I always have for myself and that I often fall short of is to write more poems, stories, anything really.

For a warm-up exercise last week, I showed a picture that I had taken in Yangon, Myanmar, and had the students "show" the picture through writing.  The picture, and the moment it captures, are bewitching and mysterious to me.  I attempted to put the feeling into writing:

Father and Son
under bright clouds
father and son stand
fields of wet, angry green behind
the air is sharp, like a lover's slap

they stand
back to back
like distrusting allies in battle
deciding who will act next

Friday, January 1, 2016


I'm teaching a writing class to adults and we recently finished our unit on writing a basic essay.  I wanted to share one of my student's essays about why you should visit Laos.  It's rather convincing.

Laos is a good place to visit
Sometimes somebody is trying to find a good place to visit in the world. Actually Laos is landlocked and very small country in Asia and it’s located in the south of China it’s a good and peaceful place to visit and has three big ethic groups, they have their own traditional and living style. I believe Laos is a good place to visit because there are so many things interesting, sightseeing, food, Buddhist, culture and traditional are the most very important things that you should know and learn when you are in Laos.

To begin with, there are so many interesting things to see and beautiful places which attracts the tourists who come to Laos. Mostly people visit Laos, want to see and spend time in the beautiful and peaceful places. Laos is the once very special country in Asia, it’s charming and colorful by golden temples and traditional houses style. It’s surrounded by limestone landscape, and gentle hills. If you want to see a really beautiful sunset there are some high mountains are the best places for you, so it’s easy to get to and there are magnificent from the tops, oh a clear day you can see for miles around. There are so many things you can visit and enjoy and do some activities such as waterfall, cave, elephant ridding and kayaking etc.

The second reason to visit Lao is because there is delicious food. There are delicious and tasty food in Laos but it is very spicy food. If anyone wants to try spicy food please come to Laos. I can say Laos is the spiciest food country, reasonably why am I saying that? Because mostly Lao people eat very spicy, for me I do like spicy food too. When they cook if there is no chili in the food, they say it is not tasty. There are many different kind of food in Laos, also ethnic group food style. The main food in Laos is sticky rice, Orlam, noodle soup, papaya salad and JeoBong. Orlam is a kind of spicy soup, JeoBong is a sauce with chili and buffalo’s skin, noodle soup is a soup with noodle, vegetables and sometimes with meat, papaya salad made with papaya, fish sauce, garlic, chili, lime, etc.

Thirdly, there is Traditional Buddhist culture to learn about Laos is the only country in Asia that has its own language, traditional culture and religion. In Laos there are very strict rules. Lao culture is very different from the other countries, for example the ladies have to wear skirt or (sin in Lao) and scarf on the shoulder when they go to the temple and also when they join ceremony in the village. In Laos is impolite to kiss or hug each other in public. It is polite to invite your friends when they are walking by while you are eating in the restaurant or the house to join you. Greeting in Laos is called Nob. Nob is when you first see somebody or a friend, you raise both hands up in front of your chest and place them together and say sabaidee.

To sum up, Laos is a good place to visit because there are many interesting places, tasty food, and traditional Buddhist culture. I hope you can come to Laos but make sure to respect Lao culture, for example you should not touch the head of a novice or monk nor wear your shoes when you are in the pagoda. Are you ready to taste spicy food and have an adventure wandering in the mountains? If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place. (Lao Tzu), music in the soul can be heard by the universe.