More questions. More help. Introducing Mastering Table Topics Second Edition.

What do we write about now?

In addition to everything President Trump has done, he has eliminated entire genres of fiction.

Cold War spy thrillers where a hostile power tries to take over the United States government? Today, it’s the subject of an active investigation. An adversary who tries to blackmail the president with compromising information? Look at all the compromising information that has already been released about this president. A dystopia where the United States has been turned into a brutal totalitarian state? Someone told me she watches A Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu to escape from the news.

Today’s headlines even affect YA. Want to write a book about a group of teenagers who endure a terrible tragedy and must battle the evil, cowardly, and corrupt adults who threaten to destroy them and their world? It has already been done.

So, what do we write about now?

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Why I’m not nostalgic for the 80s

My computer and bedroom in Reseda, 1985

This post is inspired by a typo. When someone talked about being nostalgic for the 1980s even though she didn’t grow up during that time, I replied:

Oops. So am I or am I not nostalgic for the 80s? No, even though I write about the 80s in my novel Amiga. Here are the reasons why.

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Shame on you, El Toro, if you didn’t vote

El Toro High School, I have a bone to pick with you. Actually, I have several, but I want to talk about one that is important – voting.

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How to answer questions

Sign from my presentation at the MuzeoOn May 24, I gave my presentation at the Muzeo in Anaheim based on my book Mastering Table Topics.

My subject, “How to Answer Questions,” may seem basic at first. We’ve been answering questions since we were old enough to speak. But think of all the times you’ve encountered people who can’t give a simple answer. Politicians who are long on platitudes but short on facts. Coworkers who respond to your questions by handing you a word salad filled with words but no useful information. It’s like a salad that’s mostly lettuce and a few slivers of carrots and E. coli.

Giving effective answers is a valuable skill that can benefit us professionally and personally. This is what I covered at the Muzeo.

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My first speech

Embroidered tallit bagMy first public speech was at my bar mitzvah. I was decked out in my new green suit and tie (remember, this was the 1970s) with my talit and a kipah my mom embroidered for me. Although I was shy, I felt comfortable standing on the bimah in front of family and friends. I had worked hard for the opportunity to give this speech, and I had something important to say.

My bar mitzvah was the day before Mother’s Day. Mom had spent nearly two years raising my brother and me as a single mom, and she had sacrificed so that I could have a Jewish education. I wanted to take that opportunity to thank her and share other things I believe.

There would be other speeches to come, most better written and organized. But it all began at Temple Aliyah in Woodland Hills, California.

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