TMWFI instructor Melissa Bell Toffoli has been teaching with us for 2 years. In addition to her role encouraging young writers, she's a poet and a blogger. In March 2010 she began publishing interviews with writers, and officially launched a blog in July of that same year called Words With Writers fueled by her interest in what writers are working on, how they think about writing, and how writing fits in their lives.



Marissa Bell Toffoli

Currently working at: Chabot Elementary

Hometown: Berkeley, CA

What’s one of your favorite TMWFI moments? Writing “I am From” and “I Remember” poems with my students.

What’s your favorite VERB? Write. Okay, that’s too easy. Here’s another: observe.

Did a teacher inspire you to be a writer? How? Many teachers inspired me in various ways, but I can’t think of one that specifically made me want to become a writer. At least not until college, but then those were my professors in writing and English courses and I was already actively working on creative writing. Perhaps, the best teachers for me in this way were my parents. They read books with me; they told me stories about their own lives; they helped me write my own stories before I could write for myself; they introduced me to the world of puns; they were a source of support and encouragement. I have always loved stories--reading them, listening to them, watching them unfold on stage or screen. Growing up, I enjoyed show-not-tell writing exercises and kept the books I made in elementary school classes. Words and writing have always been there as something that I could both lose myself in and find myself in, something worth working on, worth observing.

If your life was a book, what would be the title? Lacework

What’s your favorite bookstore? Rakestraw Books in Danville, CA