Particularly for states with low availability.

Photo by Edwin Hooper on Unsplash

I’d been rather blasé about the vaccine. Despite a comorbidity or two, I wasn’t eligible so, why fret? However, the minute I became eligible here in Massachusetts, I roared into action: I signed up for state alerts, for text alerts and started checking the CVS site 12 times a day. (Only a wee exaggeration.)

Four days and 48 visits to cvs.com later, friends in the same category as I casually told me they were getting the CVS shot the next day.

“It was really easy, actually.”

Say, what?

It turns out that their son, Sam, was determined to get appointments…


In person! Well, of course, I mean via Zoom.

Photo by Liam Anderson from Pexels

Gosh darn it, I do love me my students. They loves me too!

I like to write using silly bad grammar sometimes just to tease y’alll, but the bottom line is, I’m a good teacher who gets her students to write.

Because I care a lot. I like to make a difference for people.

Also, I inject fun whenver possible and appropriate. (I used to do stand-up!)

Why the emphasis on fun? Cuz if it’s fun, you’ll write more. If it feels all “heavy”… then your writing desk won’t call out your name, know what I mean?

Then there’s the…


Stop cramming in those unnecessary ingredients

Tantalizing and simple plate of spaghetti and red sauce
Tantalizing and simple plate of spaghetti and red sauce
pasta and sauce, simple ingriedients — Credit: Cesare Lombroso — Restaurant Gusto our Writing: Cut the Qualifiers, Intensifiers, and Adverbs!

Welcome, class! Miss T is here to teach you to cut those qualifiers, intensifiers, and, of course, adverbs! Shall we begin?

OK, so here goes: Bad writing is like British food. Let me explain:

I used to live in Italy. Now I live in the UK. There are two things I miss about Italy: the food and the weather. There are two things I detest about the UK: the food and the weather.

It’s not the Britisher’s fault, the poor things. The country is further north, and the climate is pretty crapola. …


You’ll need to fight off a geriatric riot, face a growling postal worker, loaf about until after siesta to go to the tobacco shop — and you’ll still probably fail.

old tiny Fiat with suitcase attached on top on a cobblestone street and an Italian flag sticker
old tiny Fiat with suitcase attached on top on a cobblestone street and an Italian flag sticker
Photo by Karim MANJRA on Unsplash

Upon entering the post office on Via Marsala near Termini Station, I see that I have to take a ticket number printed out by a large yellow machine. I need to pick from one of three types: A, E, or P. I smile coyly at an elderly gentleman, and say, “Non capisco come farlo,” I don’t know how to do it. Without moving an extra molecule of muscle besides what’s essential to speak, he says in perfect monotone, “Prendi un numero.” Take a number.

I think, Well yeah, I know that. I grab ticket numbers of all three types.


He said, “My name is Carlos Linus. ‘Linus’, it rhymes with penis.”

photo of red bicycle wheel
photo of red bicycle wheel
Photo by Alessandra Caretto on Unsplash

I’m in my 30s and I’ve recently moved to Park Slope, Brooklyn. I’m job-hunting and with time on my hands, I go biking in Prospect Park.

I have a gorgeous red bike. A Trek 400. I’ve worked up to six laps and I’m biking at least 100 miles a week. I can eat whatever I want, and I need to eat a lot because my metabolism is on fire.

I’m riding and this exotic Latino with long, black, wild hair rides up next to me and says, “You’re on your fourth lap, huh?” …


But I scored my first kiss in sixth grade

Bunch of young teen girls sitting around a table, looking judgmental
Bunch of young teen girls sitting around a table, looking judgmental
Alena Navarro- Whyte on Flickr Creative Commons license

I went to Haverly Primary school in the suburbs of New York City.

I wasn’t one of the popular girls like Georgia Esposito, who ironed her hair, and her sidekicks, Rosa Salva and Rosa’s cousin, Teresa Sinestra.

By sixth grade, I was hiding at the back of the class and sat at lunch with two girls whose clothes smelled. I had always gotten good grades, and I felt dumb about that. By sixth grade, I had become socially awkward.

Mr. Oliver, our homeroom teacher, made us line up to wait for the lunch bell in height order. I stood…


Make the reader crave that background information

Piles of books in a bookstore
Piles of books in a bookstore
Image by Eli Digital Creative from Pixabay

Miss T here and we be talking… backstory!

Backstory is whatever happened before the start of your story. It’s exposition and explanation. If you have a 50-year-old protagonist, then we’re talking about the prior 49 years of their life, what happened with their friends, family, job… anything and everything that happened in their world. That’s a LOT of information. The thing is, backstory can be really dull. Here, I’ll prove it:

If a colleague asks if they can borrow 20 bucks for lunch and they say, “I forgot my wallet,” you fork over the cash.

But, what if they…


He’s telling us it’s ok to put Mom in a home

A woman covering her face with her hands.
A woman covering her face with her hands.
Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels

“Teri! Look another email from JibJab featuring Dad’s face!!! This can’t all be a coincidence!”

My sister, Rose, had forwarded me her latest promotional email from JibJab, where she’s a member. JibJab allows you to upload photos of your loved ones’ faces into one of JibJab’s many templates of cards and videos to create fun stuff to share.

With each new email from JibJab, my sister had become increasingly convinced that our dad was contacting us from beyond the grave.

We were having our weekly call.

I told her that I didn’t think that’s what was happening; the picture…


A New Yorker’s culture shock in Italy

A woman waiting for a train while a different train whizzes by her.
A woman waiting for a train while a different train whizzes by her.
Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia on Unsplash

The 7:30 p.m. Eurostar train from Rome to Milan was full, so I got a ticket for the next train. It wasn’t an express, but I thought, How bad could it be? I would have to wait a few hours in Rome’s Termini Station, and it would take another eight hours to get to Milan — but so what! Can’t stop me! I can do it. Yes, I CAN because I am AmeriCAN!

Since moving to Italy from New York with my two cats three weeks before, I’d been in invincible mode, facing challenge after challenge. The latest was…


When to write a “scene” and when to write “narrative”

Someone holding up a smart phone and taking a video.
Someone holding up a smart phone and taking a video.
Photo by John Mark Arnold on Unsplash

So you’ve just finished reading your piece in your writing group and someone says, “It needs more show, less tell.” The others nod.

You say, “Oh of course!” or maybe you slap your forehead with the back of your hand — the universal gesture for, “D’oh.”

Later, you sit down with your writing and think, Ok so…how DO I show and not tell???

Look no further, Miss T of The No-Bull Approach to Writing Creative Nonfiction, Memoir and Blogging is here to save the day. (That would be me.)

Ok, now you can get very into this, and Janice…

Terianne Falcone

AKA Miss T and I teach No Bull Writing workshops online! https://www.facebook.com/groups/nobullwriters - teriannefalcone.commisst@teriannefalcone.com

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