PhD, fiction and nonfiction writer whose novels include The Newman Factor and Black Water. Dr. Prager’s nonfiction includes Verbal First Aid (Penguin Berkley), The Worst Is Over: What to Say When Every Moment Counts (Revised Edition, 2014), and Journey to Alternity. She is a co-recipient of the UCLA Extension Distinguished Instructor Award and the UCLA Extension Outstanding Instructor Award in Creative Writing.
Because writing isn’t mathematics, I believe there are no right answers and no wrong answers to a creative challenge. The fuzzy line between facts and the truth of the heart can hardly be defined, and anyway, it isn’t that line we walk. It is always the path of the seeker after wisdom.
In a story we can share experiences we might otherwise never have encountered. As the writer, as the reader, we meet in a sacred place, neither real nor entirely unreal. And in that space we find unexpected treasures. The writer’s task is to create an experience for the reader, even knowing nothing about who the reader is. Isn’t that mysterious that we can set a table—arrange a scene for a stranger—that is rich, that is illuminating and meaningful to both writer and reader? Every story has that potential, whether it’s about war and peace or about a baby’s first cry. How lucky we writers are, to be called to imagine and set our visions to paper. I invite my students to do this boldly, creatively, and in a spirit of wonder.
Our Students Say it Best!
“I cannot say enough good things about these two instructors. UCLA Extension has a gem here! Not only are Harry and Judith well skilled in teaching about writing, they are also very skilled at guiding writers along their individual paths to personal discoveries. Harry and Judith communicated with us as a class, and us as individuals that fostered the warm environment that this class was. I feel like I’ve gotten more out of this class then I have in any onsite class I’ve gotten at other institutions. The class participation was wonderful.” —Writers’ Program student