If Your On Punishment What Can I Do Online That Is Learning

Around the Web, we attempt to save our students with this free seminar.

Some think it makes them look bad if they write about things like dieting, marriages, diets, quitting smoking, or other things that aren’t 100 percent positive. I thought that would be true in high school, but that’s not true anymore. About a week ago, I had an opportunity to visit with a small group of teens. What stood out was how interesting these young folks are.

They have a lot to say, and it’s all very different. Kids today have this combination of energy and candor. They’re sharing their deepest thoughts and feelings with strangers. They don’t hold back. It’s important that they hear different points of view. Having two equal sides of any issue is critical.

When I was in high school, it was my job to “show” all of the things I knew about the world and what people could do about a problem, and as an exercise, we had to find a solution. Some people called that calling attention to the problem, and that’s generally how I viewed it. It came with its own kind of pain for many of us.

Doing What We Love

I have spent the last two weeks in Oklahoma leading The Writers Guild Awards panel. Our panelists are so vastly different in age, background, passions, and interests. It’s exciting to see such a cross-section of the American creative community and celebrate the work of all of these talents. I have made some great friends and have always appreciated these exceptional people.

There was one person, however, whose presence I was most excited to meet. In addition to being a member of the national Writers Guild of America, West (and an immediate past president of the local LA council), she is also a performance artist and a performance teacher and martial arts specialist.

Those four credits were the ones she needed to win the award for her one-woman show “Day by Day.” I think anyone who has been a parent would recognize in her work a great deal of compassion and recognition for herself and others. That’s what is very special about her.

This is an extraordinary artist, and I’m so proud to be associated with her. Her love for and attention to her family is part of what makes her so compelling. This is not just some show business stuff for her. These are all reasons to be thankful, but the gift of her work is that it heals through the art and helps people with their issues, often with humor and irreverence, which touches and helps people like me who have struggled and found their way.

We Are All Criminals

I had the honor of giving a free talk to the recent Los Angeles community hall of memory, which honors those who were taken from us by crime. Among those mentioned in the current mottos of this organization are Grateful Dead lead singer Jerry Garcia, literary critic Stephen King, architect Richard Neutra, historian James McPherson, Bobby Fischer, Earle Hagen, and Patsy White. The late Senator Ted Kennedy was also mentioned. If that isn’t a powerful statement about justice, I don’t know what is.

Not a single person in the room who hadn’t been touched by violence or crime got up to speak. Everyone was quiet and attentive, but none spoke. I said, “If you’re quiet, people know you’re afraid to speak up.” The silence said it all. Only the survivors spoke, and many of them shared their stories of terrible tragedy.

“Even if you’re not at the convention, the world is watching the community hall of memory. It’s important that you continue to share the things you know, things that affect your lives, and that you can help others with your efforts, because one day you’ll be on the other side of the situation. And whatever you can do to help your friends is what you should do.”

It was a moving experience, and one of my proudest days as I recalled the black line that connects us all. We all are criminals, convicted of something, either in thought or in deed.

Christine Hollen, a faculty member of the Berkeley Writers’ Center, writes about books, books about books, the theater, the opera, and the theater of books.

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