Skip to main content

Sound Bites - Issue #80 - September 2022 /info/landing/Sound-Bites-September-2022

Teacher's Corner
Everyone Has a Story by Alyssa Kress

Below is our feature story for this issue. You will hear directly from Alyssa Kress, who has been teaching writing for Community Ed since January of 2021.

"Oh, I want to write a book, too!"

This is by far the most common response I get when meeting someone new and they ask my profession. I've concluded that everyone in the world wants to write a book, usually a novel.

And yet most people don't end up writing the book of their dreams - or any book at all. They are prevented by two significant obstacles. One, they do not actually sit down and start writing. And two, they have no idea how to go about putting a novel together even if they did sit down.

The two issues are related. It's a lot harder to want to sit down to write that story in your head if you aren't sure how to tell it.

My class, "How to Write a Novel," is intended to give book-writing dreamers the tools they need in order to write down the story stewing around in their brain. Some of these tools are analytical chisels and hammers: how do I structure a conflict so that it lasts at least 50,000 words? How do I create a character the reader will care about? Other tools are therapeutic tisanes: how do I shoo away the critical crow on my shoulder cawing mockingly at every word I write?

Once a student has these tools under their belt, they will need to overcome the second hurdle: gathering the motivation to actually sit down and write. For some people, simply having the tools they need will start them on their way. For others, a little more carrot and stick are necessary. This group is invited to join the merry crew at the "Finish that Novel!" workshop. With an assignment of five pages to turn in every week and a gang of eager readers waiting to gobble up one's latest product, motivation is high to sit down and add pages to one's manuscript. Somebody is actually going to read it! And tell you what they think! It's amazing!

Everyone has a story to tell. My passion is enabling everyone who comes into my virtual classroom to gather the means to go ahead and do so. And then they, too, will be greeted with, "Oh, I want to write a book, too!"

What's New:
We Are Back!

Alice Meyering

from the desk of Alice Meyering

It’s been a while since Sound Bites made an appearance in your inbox, but here we are, after a long hiatus. A lot has changed in our program, but what hasn’t changed is our commitment to our community, and our commitment to learning. We are so glad that we are able to re-establish this platform as a way to stay in touch with our beloved community of learners.

Fall semester starts at the end of August, and most Community Education classes are starting after Labor Day, which makes it easier for those of us who haven’t quite gotten over summer yet, wink wink! Don’t forget to check our website for a complete listing of our offerings.

Please continue to use as the best way to contact us. Currently, we do not have enough staff for full phone coverage. If you do need someone in our office to call you back, please email us with your phone number and the best time to call you between the hours of 8am-5pm, Mondays-Fridays, and we will do our best to reach you. Thank you for continuing to work and adapt with us.

In this issue, we will share with you exciting news about a new partnership and a new instructor whose classes have been steadily gaining followers this past year. So, read on, and see what’s new at Community Ed! Remember to keep an eye on future quarterly issues to keep you informed of the latest in our program. Welcome back!

Please browse our courses on our website. If you have questions, please feel free to email us at

The Eyes of Frank Damon

Frank Damon - DINNERTIME
Frank Damon - DINNERTIME won the 2016 Fall Cover Photo Contest

Back in 2016, Frank Damon won the Community Education Photo Contest with Dinnertime. Unbeknownst to us,  we would get a monthly calendar with a gorgeous photograph from Frank, and sometimes, we would  posted these on our Facebook page to share with our public. The imageries are often the ones familiar to us Southern Californians in the area: the beaches in Malibu, Santa Monica, DTLA, and the like. Sights that are so familiar to us, yet looked just a little different, because we are seeing them through the eyes of the photographer, Frank Damon.

Earlier this year, I proposed a partnership with Frank: Community Education would like to use his photo imageries twice a year as the cover of our class schedules. I thought this would be a great use of our brochure to stay connected with our community, and to showcase the sights we all treasure so much. Fortunately, Frank was very open to this idea.

In July, we picked two imageries out of Frank’s extensive archive for the class schedules in 2023, and decided on “Sunset Serenity” and “Basking in the Morning Sun” for the Winter/Spring and Summer/Fall covers, respectively. The imageries looked so great that there was no doubt in my mind that our public will appreciate the visuals as much as we did.

Sound Bites readers will get a sneak peek on what our winter/spring 2023 cover looks like in our next issue in November and the story behind the cover photo, as well as the photographer himself. We hope this partnership will give our class schedule a local flavor. After all, our community is always the source of our greatest inspiration. We hope you will agree.

You can expect to see Frank Damon’s photograph as the cover of our winter/spring 2023 class schedule, which will be showing up in your mailboxes later this year, in November.