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

The Remainders Beta 2 (and why writing is critical)

Front Cover - The RemaindersMy second beta of The Remainders is finished. Thanks to the feedback I got from the first beta, it is a true novel at 70,000 words and a much stronger story. Adding the first-person narration of Dylan’s father added depth to both characters. I drew parallels between both character’s lives and how they stumbled and grew through the events in the book. When father and son meet at the end, I switched between points of view so we can see how they viewed the other. I’m happy with how this draft turned out.

Revising The Remainders also provided me with much-needed therapy.

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Remembering Grandpa Max

Grandpa Max

My grandfather Max Bloom at my mom’s wedding in 1951.

My grandfather Max Bloom died 50 years ago today. I was too young to remember him, but my mom told me many stories about him. She adored her dad, and she used him as a model of what a man should be. This is why, for better and worse, he shaped me to be the person I am today. Read more »

Junior high school in the 1970s

Sequoia Junior High School in 1976This coming weekend, members of my class from Sequoia Junior High School in Reseda are having a 40th anniversary reunion. I won’t be able to make it, unfortunately. Instead, I’d like to share some memories of being a junior high school student in the 1970s.

Actually, there was never a time in history when it was good to be a junior high school student. Ages 12 to 15 can be described with one word, awkward. Voices drop, acne blooms, and the race to see whose body can most resemble an adult’s begins. We get the awkward sex talk at a time when we feel the least sexy. It’s hard to impress “the la-a-a-dies” when your mom drives you around in her Olds 98 and talks about what “a big boy” you’re getting to be.

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Does generosity have limits?

Hands holding a gift box isolated on black backgroundGenerosity is an important and valuable trait. It’s how we show our love and gratitude, offer kindness to those who need it, and share our gifts to help others. Most major religions extol the virtues of giving and make it a core tenet. We know it is better to give than receive.

With all the good things about generosity, can a person be too generous? Are there times when giving can be inappropriate or even toxic? There are. We need to know when we shouldn’t give, just as we need to know when we should give openly when we can and should.

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“So why don’t you run for city council?”

Lake Forest, California City Council (photos from the Lake Forest City Website)

A few years ago, I wrote about the trajectories taken by the community where I grew up, Reseda, and the city where I live, Lake Forest. Today, Lake Forest’s trajectory is heading right towards the ground. Our city is embroiled in a bitter fight by one block of city council members who want to recall the other block. Both sides have enough embarrassing sordidness to go around. There is the campaign sign stealing. And the altercation in a supermarket parking lot. And the nasty campaign flyers that fill our mailboxes on a regular basis.

You may ask, “If you’re so unhappy with your city council, why don’t you run? You’re always talking about the importance of getting involved. You were a Little League president. You attended the Lake Forest Leadership Academy. You’re an award-winning public speaker. You have friends in Reseda who can show you how to build a community. Why don’t you run for city council?”

My answer will explain what’s wrong with politics today.

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