In the High Meadow classroom, writing is approached as a means of strengthening our connection with the world around us and with ourselves. Students lean into the excitement of creating unseen worlds and characters, finding the right words to express their opinions and observations, and communicate with those they know best and those they wish to know. Through the workshop process, students experience writing as an extension of self, a way to effectively hone and share their individual voice as a part of a thoughtful and democratic community.

For the third and final installment of our series on artists of the HMS community, we are focusing on some of the writers within our parent community. Those featured here today by no means represent all the writers in the community. We know that many of you have poured your hearts and minds onto the page and have been fortunate enough to find an audience for that personal process. We hope this snapshot inspires you to explore the work of your fellow High Meadowans, or find some “you time” and put your own thoughts into written words.


“Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens.”

~ Ray Bradbury

Writers of the HMS Parent Comunity


Elana Bell
Elana Bell (mom to Surya in Kindergarten) is the author of Mother Country (BOA Editions 2020), poems about fertility, motherhood, and mental illness. Her debut collection of poetry, Eyes, Stones (LSU Press 2012), received the 2011 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets, and brings her complex heritage as the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors to consider the difficult question of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Elana is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the Jerome Foundation, the Edward Albee Foundation, and the Brooklyn Arts Council. Her writing has appeared in AGNI, Harvard Review, and the Massachusetts Review, among others.  She was an inaugural finalist for the Freedom Plow Award for Poetry & Activism from Split This Rock, an award that recognizes and honors a poet who is doing innovative and transformative work at the intersection of poetry and social change. In addition to facilitating her own Creative Fire workshops, Elana teaches poetry to actors at the Juilliard School and sings with the Resistance Revival Chorus, a group of womxn activists and musicians committed to bringing joy and song to the resistance movement.


Clay Drinko

Clay Drinko, Ph.D. is an author, educator, improv expert, and dad to Ella (from the 3s class). He writes for Psychology Today and Lifehack and is the author of Theatrical Improvisation, Consciousness, and Cognition and the just-released Play Your Way Sane: 120 Improv-Inspired Exercises to Help You Calm Down, Stop Spiraling, and Embrace Uncertainty (Simon & Schuster). Check out for more information about Clay and Play Your Way Sane, and if you’d like to try out some exercises from the book, the Hudson Valley Performing Arts Lab is hosting a virtual workshop this Saturday, February 13th. Come join the fun!

Early praise for Play Your Way Sane:
“In Play Your Way Sane, Clay Drinko provides a needed gift for turbulent times…If you’re feeling stuck, tired or out of control, buy this book and play these games. You will be grateful that you did.”—Kelly Leonard, Executive Director of Insights and Applied Improvisation at Second City

“This book is as informative as it is hilarious. The author is knowledgeable and authentic, with a wicked sense of humor… a must-have for anyone with anxiety or panic disorder.” —Claire Eastham, Author of We’re All Mad Here and F**K, I Think I’m Dying


Joshua Rubin
Joshua Rubin (dad to Thalia in 4th and Elijah in 1st) is a video game writer best known for his work on Assassin’s Creed 2, Bungie’s Destiny, Telltale’s Game of Thrones and Walking Dead. He’s also created a number of pioneering Virtual Reality projects including Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son with Tequila Works, and his award-winning Sci-Fi VR short The Argos File, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival. Most recently, he was Lead Writer on Outriders, the upcoming AAA shooter from Square Enix and People Can Fly. Through Subverse Interactive Narrative Consulting, he works with game studios around the world to super-charge their storycraft and help them realize their creative vision.


Julie Fogliano
Julie Fogliano is the New York Times bestselling author of And Then It’s Spring and If You Want to See a Whale as well as the poetry collection, When Green Becomes Tomatoes. Recipient of the 2013 Ezra Jack Keats award, her books have been translated into more than ten languages. Julie lives in the Hudson Valley with her husband and three children, including Clio (4th Grade). When she is not folding laundry or wondering what to make for dinner, she is staring out the window waiting for a book idea to fly by.

Alexandra Zissu
Alexandra Zissu’s 6th book, Earth Squad: 50 People who are Saving the Planet, comes out on March 2nd. She’s Lyyli’s mom (2nd grade). This is her first book for kids,  written to encourage and inspire children 8 to 12 to join the environmental movement and take action to protect our shared home, especially at this moment of climate crisis. Lexy will be joining HMS for our Earth Day celebration in April, sharing a reading from Earth Squad with students!

Alexandra’s writing centers on the environment, especially environmental health. A longtime journalist who has written extensively about style as well as food, she started writing books when she was pregnant with Lyyli’s older sister, Aili, a former HMS student and now a freshman at New Paltz High School. That first formative book, The Complete Organic Pregnancy, lead to others, including The Conscious Kitchen. She’s also the co-author of Planet Home, The Butcher’s Guide to Well-Raised Meat, and Get on Top. When not writing books or articles, she consults with organizations and companies alike on their sustainability content.