Eileene Tejada: The First Time I Had Sex

Eileene Tejada wrote this piece at last summer's Commonweal Writer's Retreat and she brought down the house reading it at the reading our final night. I was so delighted when she told me I could publish it here for your reading pleasure!

I come from a culture where virginity was more of a cult than a state of being. All the stories about having sex for the first time were horrible: women who refused to touch their husbands on their wedding night. It was such a paradox. Dating was romantic; there were tales of dancing and serenedes, but the wedding night, the men played sexual animal to our mother's frigid prey.

My mother told me that if I had sex before marriage very bad things would happen to me. One, I would never know happiness. ... [Continue Reading]

10 Things I Know the Truth About: How to Surrender to Serious Illness

This is part of an ongoing series I started publishing in the newsletter a few months ago: ten things I know the real truth about. This month’s topic: I know how to surrender to serious illness.

P.S. I want to make it clear everyone walks through the valley of illness differently. This is a list of what worked for ME...it won't necessarily be what works for you or your loved one.

  1. As soon as you get your diagnosis, educate yourself and reach out for support. There are lots of people who know all about what you have—and they will be happy to help you learn what you need to know. They have walked where you have walked before and they will be happy to extend a hand.
  2. Do not keep your illness a secret. Do not waste energy trying to pretend to ... [Continue Reading]

Barbara Levitt: Report from the San Miguel Writer’s Conference



In February of 2012, I had the great pleasure of traveling to the San Miguel Writer's Conference with my Friday student, and friend, Barbara Levitt. Here's her report on her south of the border writing conference experience:

It was the last day to sign up for the Early Bird special for the San Miguel de Allende Writers’ Conference.  “What the hell,” I thought. “I’m feeling kind of jaded.  I could use an adventure, and it will be fun to see writers, perhaps the most solitary of workers, at their intensely social, interactive best.”

I was traveling with my friend and teacher, Laura Davis.  We moved with patience and humor through the increasingly ... [Continue Reading]