“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft."
 --Anne LamottBird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life


A collaboration with The Miami Foundation’s #MyMiamiStories

Episode 36: Hurricanes and Stories Define Us, Since the Beginning of Time

This episode was conceived after Hurricane Irma blew through South Florida. The entire state seemed to be preoccupied if not scared to death, leading up to the moment Irma made landfall on September 10, 2017.

You’ll hear Andrea's Rabbi talk about how she prepared for the sermon she delivered just days after the community went through this traumatic event. You will also hear students Karen Collazo, Misha Mehrel, Allison Langer, and teacher Andrea Askowitz tell their raw, first draft stories in response to the prompt A Hurricane’s Coming, Stay or Go. You’ll also hear from listeners Valerie Vargas and Carol Coombes, who sent us their stories.


Episode 35: What Makes You You?

This episode is about character, the things that make you you. We speak with award winning author, Tiphanie Yanique who says character is the most important element in storytelling and lays out the ways character is created. 

You will hear stories from student Nicki Post and Tobi Ash. You’ll also hear quick responses to the prompt: No One Would Ever Marry Me Because... by students Nilsa Rivera and Virginia Lora.


Episode 34: Let’s Ignore Writing Class Protocol and Talk About Our Lives.

In this episode, we go off the rails...a little. We invited our class into Allison’s living room where in addition to writing advice, we gave life advice. Allison allowed the students to comment on the narrator’s life and allowed the narrator to defend herself. Two things we never allow in class. The prompt was “good enough.” In addition to Andrea and Allison, you will hear a prompt response from student Lis Mesa as well as feedback from producer Virginia Lora and student Viccy Simon.


Episode 33: Great Writing Starts With a Question. What Don’t You Understand?

In this episode, you will meet Jeana Fleming, the winner of Writing Class Radio’s spring writing contest. Andrea and Allison weigh in on why they chose her story and what makes the writing so great. 

Allison talks about Exchange for Change, an organization based in Miami, Florida that offers writing classes to incarcerated men and women. Allison spends two hours every Wednesday with 18 inmates at the Dade Correctional Institute. She helps them write their true and personal stories.


Episode 32: Will This Ever End?

In this episode, Allison and Andrea are talking about endings. How to end an essay when often the issues we write about are ongoing. Should we know the ending when we begin? Does the end of the essay have to show a change in the narrator? Can we show change or find meaning without distance? Can we leave the reader to interpret the ending or must we bang them over the head with the change? Listen as we answer these questions.

We bring you examples of great endings from students Lis Mesa and Aaron Curtis, who worked on their stories in and out of class. Phoebe Scott, a listener in Tennessee and student Viccy Simon share short prompt responses.


Episode 31: Take Me Into Your World.

In this episode, Allison and Andrea are talking about worlds again. The first story is by student Viccy Simon who takes us into her world of a minyan, which is a ten person Jewish prayer group. Then Andrea tells her story, Softball Lesbian.