• There’s Something You Should Do During Quarantine and Social Distancing

    Prologue You don’t have to listen to me. But it may serve you well if you do. More importantly, it may serve someone else well. And so, let me share with you something that has the potential to be one of the best choices you’ve made during this pandemic. In This Time of Self-Quarantine and Social Distancing… I’m a teacher. I’m a writing professor. I teach people about writing. I’m also a professor of communication, and I just finished instructing two courses in interpersonal communication. We dissected theories and concepts, nonverbal and verbal communication, work relationships, friendships, and love relationships, self-disclosure, reciprocity, and so many other things about relationships. In…

  • Don’t Have Money To Spend This Valentine’s Day? Take A Cue From St. Valentine and Write A Letter

    First, a little historical perspective… St. Valentine lived during the time of Claudius the Cruel in Rome. Under his rule, Claudius was not fond of men who would not join his military leagues due to their devotion to their wives and families. Therefore, Claudius banned marriages and engagements in Rome. However, Valentine defied the emperor and continued to perform marriage rituals for people in love in secret. When Claudius discovered what Valentine was doing, he ordered him put to death. The sentence was carried out on February 14. While in jail and prior to his death, Valentine wrote a farewell note for the jailer’s daughter, who had become a friend.…

  • Two Books Down So Far in 2018; Letters to Write

    The other day, I blogged my post-Christmas letter, which really wasn’t too much of a Christmas letter at all, replete with all the “what our family has been up to;” in fact, it was more of a review and a what-I-got-out-of the book The Man Who Invented Christmas letter. That was the first book I completed in the New Year. I can now check another book off my 2018 READING LIST: Marisa de los Santos’s wonderfully cheeky and heartwarming first book, Love Walked In. The book was my choice for tonight’s book club meeting, as I’ve wanted to read it for years, ever since my mother stuffed it into my…

  • The Letter in the Desk | An Excerpt | Friday Fiction

    * * * Unfortunately, this week I am too busy to write a new Friday Fiction post. However, I thought I would share a post I discuss with my students in class. I wrote this short piece called “The Letter in the Desk” when I was working on my MFA. The prompt, again from Brian Kiteley, is from The 4 A.M. Breakthrough, which asks writers to “work with a character you’re very familiar with—someone from a novel you’ve abandoned, a series of stories, or at least a story you’ve worked hard on but have not finished. The character is waiting for someone she knows very well in something like a…

  • Fictography #14 — A Love Letter From Mitchell Henry of Kylemore Castle, Connemara, Ireland

      /FICTOGRAPHY/ def. — The intersection of photography (submitted by readers) and fiction (written by me!). How spectacular is this castle? Over spring break, a group of students studied abroad in Ireland. One such student was Emily Maranto, a senior at Stevenson University. Emily has taken several writing courses with me, and as well, she’s got a special place in my heart because she was fortunate, as was I years and years prior, to intern at the Orioles. The students had so much fun on their trip, and last weekend, I was told the story of Kylemore Castle and its history, once the home of Mitchell Henry who built it…

  • Fictography #11 — Callie’s Letter

    /FICTOGRAPHY/ def. — The intersection of photography (submitted by readers) and fiction (written by me!). This week’s selected photograph comes from another student of mine, Courtney Hastings. Courtney is a business communication major, she loves to write and has taken many courses with me. She is also a member of the public relations club, of which I serve as the advisor, and is a member of our honor society, Lambda Pi Eta. She is very involved in campus life, and performs with the marching band as well. She is multi-talented, and appears to be a pretty good photographer as well. When she posted this photo on Facebook, I asked her…

  • My Noteworthy Love Affair

    “What a lot we lost when we stopped writing letters. You can’t reread a phone call.” ~ Liz Carpenter What makes a noteworthy love affair? That your heart goes a-flutter and warms your soul to the very core. At the book club I attended last week, we talked about what this generation of children will be missing. We all agreed that they will be missing love letters. They will be missing the opportunity to create a box and save all the letters and notes that have been written to them over the years. You can’t save a text and box it up. Or an email. Where’s the romance in that? I wouldn’t…

  • Bringing Back The Love Letter

    * * * Dear Readers, Last year I wrote a post entitled “Instructions for Writing a Love Letter: Taking the Love Letter Oath.” To date, it’s one of the most popular posts on Steph’s Scribe. In any given week, I receive many hits on that one piece, which leaves me with a sense of hope. People still want to write a love letter. They just need a little encouragement. What I think is so sweet about this endeavor is the time it takes to construct one. I said it in the last post, and I’ll say it again: your ability to write something meaningful, make it look pretty on paper, and…

  • Instructions for Writing a Love Letter: Taking the Love Letter Oath

    In one of my previous blog posts entitled Nostalgia I wrote about having a box of memories—a collection of the things we don’t want to forget—and what exactly it is we put in those boxes. I admitted to throwing away many old letters, especially love letters that I’d received when letter writing was still vogue and electronics weren’t even in existence. It makes me mourn the longhand form of letter writing. I miss the feel of the pen running across the page, the ink adhering to attractive stationery that reflects the sentiment at hand as the letter comes to life. I can’t remember the last time I wrote a love…