Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Another Opportunity ... to write, to learn, to learn to write

"Suddenly, I have a lot to do," I said.

"Well, like what!" Benjamin asked, sounding just a little incredulous.

"There is the writing assignment she just gave us; the book she gave us to read; the thinking she asked us to do about our list(s). The writing contest we spoke about at dinner; my two weekly  volunteer tasks at the Basilica."

"Hmmm," he said, seeming to comprehend.

I had not even mentioned the new task for Travis, unrelated to our work together at the Basilica, that I had agreed to undertake. "And I don't have this week's blog post finished," I thundered, slapping my hand at the car's steering wheel, as if he had not yet comprehended my horrible workload to my satisfaction. ( Yes, I was whining a bit; guilty. )

"Well," he suggested, mid-wifing the post you are reading, "you could write about our new writing class, instructor, students and/or assignment."
  •  For this quarter's class, we are at still another school in the Minneapolis district. ( It has been kind of fun just exploring the city as we've had classes all around it ... six classes in six different schools. )
  • The class is titled, "Creating a Writing Life," and is led by a physically small woman with both an engaging smile and a Fine Arts degree from Hamline. The biography/resume posted for her says she, " ... has published poetry in several literary journals and has led several writing classes for Minneapolis Community Education and for private groups. She has worked as a journalist for 20 years and as a professional community organizer for 11 years." She told us she has been teaching this class for ten years; I liked her right away.
  • There are thirteen students, five of the masculine persuasion. Three of the males are the three oldest people in the class.
  • I retired from working at a Help Desk, a job I enjoyed immensely. Benjamin continues to work at the same Help Desk and also enjoys it. One of our fellow students works at an IT job that she cannot stand.
  • After introductions, among the first things Ms Cottle had us do is list five ( or so ) major decisions we've made that had an impact on our lives. Then, five lies we've told, with a similar impact.
  • After sharing these lists, for about fifteen minutes, we wrote about one of the major decisions, and shared as much as we wanted with everyone. Our homework is to finish the story, in a length of one to two pages, and bring it, with enough copies to give everyone, next week to read and get feedback. Most of all class time from here on out will be reading and getting comments from our fellow students. She also wants us to be reading, together, a book titled, "Memory Keeper's Daughter."
 One of the other students got some good, specific comments on his piece, comments of the type that Benjamin and I have come to expect when taking such a class. This student was overwhelmed, "I've taken 5 or 6 of these, and have never gotten the kind of help you all have provided tonight! Thanks very much!"

Stay tuned.
If you would like to comment but don't care to use the comment field, send an email to  walter.comments@inkfounta.in.

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