Sunday, October 19, 2014

Poems for Literacy

Me reading my poem at Smith College - 2013

For the past 3 Novembers, I have been part of the 30 Poems in November fundraiser for The Center of New Americans.  The Center, or as we say, CNA, is an amazing organization that supports immigrants and refugees in finding and obtaining the resources they need to be productive community members and/or citizens, especially literacy.

As many of you know, I am a teacher and citizenship assistant at CNA.  I love my work and am dedicated to my students and clients.  Participating in 30 Poems in November is a joy!   

I have no problems writing 30 poems during the month.  However, what I do have difficulty with is raising the $500 I have pledged.  I only work part-time, so my finances are limited.  This is where YOU come in.

I am humbly asking if my friends and family could donate $5 or $10 to support my pledge. 

Some people have asked me why am I doing this again - didn't they pledge last year?  Yes, but CNA is a non-profit organization.  We rely on grants and donations to support the work we do at CNA.  Raising funds is a constant, with the 30 Poems in November our major fundraiser. 

The community around us, which is rich in literary talent, is also involved. Many people - teachers, students, writers, single moms, dads who work other jobs - retired community members - are involved in the writing and fundraising. The fact that we have a poetry reading celebration at Smith College's Poetry Center is proof of the validity of our project. So, I can promise that your donations are going to a GREAT cause.  

Thank you ahead of time for your support.  I wouldn't be able to do this with YOU!


Go to - - to make a donation!  Thanks!!!!!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Last Conception by Gabriel Constans

This week, I have the pleasure of sharing with you a new book, The Last Conception that I found captivating as well as enlightening.  The Last Conception  surprised me in that it kept me glued to the computer screen.  Right in the middle of reading it, my computer crashed.  You know that feeling you get when you are all wrapped in a great episode of your favorite series, like Dr. Who and suddenly the credits start rolling before things are resolved?  Well, that was me a few weeks ago when the computer crashed and I had to wait to upload the book again.

Anyway, fellow educator and writer, Gabriel Constans, the author of this book has been so patient with me.  He has also been most gracious in answering a few questions I had when I first started reading his story about a young, professional woman from the East Indian culture, who finds herself in the middle of Major - with a capital M! - life choices.  


Gabriel, how did you come to write about the Indian culture? 

Writing about East Indian culture in the U.S. was influenced by friends and my previous book, Buddha’s Wife. Both involved research and personal experience. 

Buddha's Wife sounds interesting, I'll have to put that on my list of "to read" books. So, where did you get the idea for the conflict in this story? 

Believe it or not, part of the conflict for the story came from the film Bend It Like Beckham, when the main character’s best friend reveals to her that he is gay and she replies, “How can you be gay, you’re Indian?” The other challenges, of whether to have a baby or not, and Savarna's parents' claims about her lineage, arose from my adult daughters and previous writings. 

So, like many writers, your personal experience is entwined with what your write.  I really connect to that kind of writing.  Last question - what do you hope this story will do for the reader? 

I hope readers of The Last Conception enjoy the story, will keep it close to their hearts, and appreciate a deeper understanding of family, love, commitment and choice. 

Well, as the mother of four daughters, I can tell you that I truly related to this story on several levels, especially the issues around conception.  Thank you, Gabriel, for your time, your story and most of all for your patience.  I hope my readers will find this book as enjoyable as I did.

About the Author:

Gabriel Constans and bell hooks
Gabriel Constans is an educator, writer/editor and counselor.  His previous novel, Buddha’s Wife, was highly acclaimed by writers and reviewers, such as bell hooks, Chitra Divakaruni and Robert Blake. It is presently being adapted for the screen, as is The Last Conception. Other works of fiction by the author include St. Catherine’s Baby, The Skin of Lions: Rwandan Folk Tales and Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba: The illustrious and delusional abbess of satire

The Last Conception is available on Amazon.