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Writing Lessons

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Writing Lessons
Photo by Hannah Olinger on Unsplash

I’ve been supervising a graduating high school senior for the past month. He wanted to try his hand at being a full-time writer, bless his heart, and he’s writing a novella for his final project. At our weekly meetings, he turns over a chapter or so of writing, and we discuss the previous week’s work. It’s been more than a decade since I’ve taken the teacher’s seat, but the old neural pathways started firing right away: show, don’t tell; omit needless words; keep dialogue spare. Though my role is more advisor than teacher, I can’t help myself. At our first meeting, I bled feedback all over his manuscript in black ink. What follows is a roundabout apology.

Hot House: Architect’s House With Gardener’s Garden Asks $2.245M In Ruxton

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Hot House: 6516 Montrose Avenue, Ruxton, Baltimore County, MD 21212

English Tudor-style house, circa 1926, in stone and stucco with slate roof, terraced gardens, and saltwater pool. Four bedrooms, six baths over three levels and 4,189 sq. ft. Living room, dining room, open-plan family room with fireplace and French doors to terrace, gourmet kitchen with soapstone counters, Sub-Zero fridge, breakfast bar/wet bar with wine fridge. Master bedroom with garden views, his and her bath and dressing rooms. Private bedroom apartment. Finished lower level. Energy efficient home. Multi-zone heat and central air, two-car attached garage, irrigation system, salt water pool, on 1.2 landscaped acres with exceptional plantings: $2,245,000

Hot Plate: Preakness parties, royal wedding treats, Biggie Smalls brunch and more

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Hot Plate: Preakness parties, royal wedding treats, Biggie Smalls brunch and more
Sagamore Spirit Rye drinks are on Preakness celebration menus at Mt. Washington Tavern and Ryleigh’s Oyster this weekend.

With Preakness, a royal wedding and a bunch of other fun food events on the horizon, this week is shaping up to be a good one in Baltimore. Here’s a look at what’s coming up:

Hot Plate: Festivals, restaurant openings, Mother’s Day, a Parts & Labor yard sale and more

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The Maryland Craft Beer Festival takes place in Frederick on Saturday, May 12. It’s one of several festivals happening on Saturday.

Last week, the news out of Baltimore’s restaurant scene wasn’t great, with several beloved restaurants announcing their closing. This week, the view from Charm City is much sunnier, with multiple openings on the horizon! And, of course, a day dedicated to moms (and brunch).

Here’s a look at what’s happening around town this week:

The Boomer and the Boomerang: A Love Story

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mother and son
The author and her son.

Lots of birthdays this month. Baltimore Fishbowl is turning seven, and with it the Bohemian Rhapsody column; meanwhile I am celebrating my 60th, and my son Hayes turned 30 at the end of April. In honor of all this, we’re re-posting the very first column I wrote for the Fishbowl… commissioned and edited by my dear Betsy Boyd, who shares my birthdate. The essay captures a time in our lives that seems long ago already; it, along with many of its successors, became part of the raw material for Highs in the Low Fifties, published in 2013.  As for highs in the low sixties, one of the reasons I didn’t write a new piece this month is that I’ve been working on my one-woman show, Portrait of the Artist as a Sad Little Girl in New Jersey. It will premiere at the University of Baltimore Wright Theater May 24, 7 p.m. One show only. It’s part of a works-in-progress series where the audience stays on after the show and gives feedback.

Originally published May 24, 2011 – Last spring, my son Hayes graduated from Georgetown with a degree in finance and was immediately offered a six-figure salary in New York City at one of the big banks. I was amazed. In 1978, when I graduated from Brown with a degree in Russian History, I could hardly land a four-figure job at the 7-11.

Off he went to Manhattan, but things very quickly went very badly. His girlfriend, the beauteous Queen of Ecuador (she was from an illustrious South American family and looked like Penelope Cruz), dumped him two days after he got there. Meanwhile, the six-week training program at the bank was mind-numbingly dull. And while he had not liked New York when he’d lived there as an intern his junior summer, this time, he really hated it. Just making his way from his apartment to the subway in the sweaty morning rush hour crowd was almost more than he could take.

Anthem House – Vibrant apartment community surrounded by history and culture

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Inspired by the rich history and culture of surrounding Baltimore, Anthem House offers a unique approach to apartment living centered on building a community of creative, energetic residents.

A state-of-the-art fitness center, a full acre of outdoor space, an on-site restaurant and bar – find creative spaces and spectacular amenities that foster wellness and cultivate creativity, all just steps from your front door. Plus, with an address in the heart of Locust Point, you’d be hard pressed to find a more convenient location in the city. Lease with us by June 30th and we’ll treat you to one month free — plus an additional $500 off your first month’s rent if you move in by May 31st.*

Anthem House isn’t merely an apartment building – it’s a way of life. Schedule a tour today to find your niche in our one-of-a-kind community while we still have availability — with only a handful of inspired urban residences remaining, it’s time to make your move to Locust Point.

Hot Plate: Restaurant closings, farmers’ markets return, Cinco de Mayo, Kentucky Derby and Mother’s Day plans

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The Sandlot opens for the season on Saturday, May 5, with a party featuring a new Monument City Brewing beer.

Not all of this week’s restaurant news is good–-a couple tough closings have recently been announced. But we have a big party weekend ahead of us, Baltimore, and a lot to look forward to for the rest of the month.

Here’s a look at what’s happening:

Q&A: Ralph Jaffe rails on ‘corrupt’ politicians and media, and explains why hes running for governor (again)

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Photo courtesy of Ralph Jaffe

Ralph Jaffe’s war chest for his campaign to be Maryland’s next governor is $415. You read that right.

Q&A with local writer Michael Downs, author of ‘The Strange and True Tale of Horace Wells, Surgeon Dentist’

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Horace Wells, Surgeon Dentist by Michael DOwnsBefore there was virtual reality, there was historical fiction. As lovers of this genre know, its best representatives offer an experience akin to time travel, making the cultural ambiance and physical details of another era almost magically vivid and immersive. One certainly feels this with the work of Michael Downs. He is a native of Hartford, Connecticut, born in 1964, but in each of his works set in that city, he leaves the convincing impression that he might have lived there in other periods, other lives.

Hot Plate: LB Skybar reopening, Ramps & Rose dinner at Foraged, Petit Louis’ April in Paris fete and more

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LB Skybar opens Friday on the 19th floor of the Lord Baltimore Hotel.

If you’re thinking about heading outside with a drink in hand, now’s the time, Baltimore. This week brings tons of opportunities to eat and drink seasonally and locally–and outdoors. Here’s a look at what’s on tap:

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