4 years, 6 months, and 5 days. Work on writing clearly.


My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Critical thinking is for naught if you are unable to give voice to your inner thoughts.  But, beware, you communicate something about yourself by everything you do: your words, your writings, your actions, and your attire.  Here, let’s talk about written communication;  I fear it may be a dying art in this age of Twitter, texts, and emoticons.

You cannot afford to allow your writing skills to be under-developed or weak.  Good writing is critical to academic and professional success.  In my days, I always gave a writing test to narrow down the number of job applicants I would interview.  From the hundreds of applications, I chose the top 10 and tested their writing skills.  Based on the results of their writing test, I would interview the top 3 and offer the job to one.  Writing is that important.

In school, teachers often use your written responses to gauge (1) how much you understand the course material, (2) your ability to analyze and synthesize what you learned, and (3) your ability to effectively communicate your thoughts.  Thus, your writing is the vehicle through which your teacher gauges your comprehension and analysis.  If you cannot write well, that may obscure how well you understood or analyzed class material.

The good news is that writing is a skill.  You can master it with time and effort.  Practice the art.  Keep at it. You’ll get better with practice.

Read books like Strunk and White’s The Element of Style, and William Zinsser’s On Writing Well.  In fact, read voraciously.  Good writers are also voracious readers.  You can no more be a great chef without tasting fine food than be a great writer without sampling the fine writings of the masters.

All my love, always,






4 years, 5 months, and 21 days. Strive to be good writers.




Writing is talking to someone else on paper.  Anyone who can think clearly can write clearly, about any subject at all.

On Writing Well, William Zinsser (2001).

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

“Time and tide wait for no man.”  Chaucer.  If only time were more kind and not so cruel, he would have made every day with you last an eternity, and every day without you a mere second.  Unfortunately, time flies regardless of your presence and I can but helplessly count the moments I’ve missed.

Live well, my sons.  Live a life for which you’d be proud to recount in your old age.

Keep a journal if you’ve not been doing so.  It memorializes the moments I’ve missed, but also helps you write better.  In addition, writing is therapeutic.  It is for me.

Writing is also critical to your future success.  Good writers excel in school and in life.  I used to require a writing test to narrow down the list of candidates I choose to interview.  Regardless of the strength of their resumes, if an applicant wrote poorly, I wouldn’t bother to even interview him or her.

Just write. At first, don’t worry whether you are writing well.  The trick is to edit and rewrite.  As John Irving once said, “More than a half, maybe as much as two-thirds of my life as a writer is rewriting.”  So, don’t give yourself excuses for not writing by trying to find the best ways to express yourself.  Just write.  Then, edit and rewrite until what you wrote expresses exactly what you wish.

All my love, always,