As you may know, I’m teaching a creative writing course this semester and I’m enjoying it more than I ever expected. My students are amazing–a dream come true. They are creative, have excellent attitudes, and don’t hesitate to get right to work on their writing. I can’t imagine a better group to initiate this new chapter of my career.
Today we started on our first “official” genre–Realistic Fiction. We’ve done a few warm-up activities, but this is the first story we plan to read to each other. When it comes to reading and writing, I believe in sitting down and doing it with the students. Luckily, I happen to love both of those things.
So, as my students started their first short story, I started one as well. I fully intend to partake in each genre, to read my work to them just as they must read their work aloud to the group, and to basically experience the victories and frustrations as an active participant, not just an objective observer.
I’ve been writing regularly for a long, long time now, and virtually all of it has been by myself–mostly in a basement of some sort or another with the lights off and music playing.
Today I wrote in a classroom full of teenagers. Some of them were sketching characters, some of them were developing plot in their journals, some were typing away. I’ve always listened to music as I write, so I allow them to listen with their earbuds as well. I would intermittently look up to see my students lost in their own creative endeavor. I heard the tap-tap-tap of their keyboards. I saw the words appearing on their screens, the characters taking shape in their journals, or the pencil gliding across their notebook paper. I took all of this in and it brought me great happiness.
At the end of class I mentioned to them how fun it is to write with others. I explained that writing can be such an isolated, lonely activity–to sit in a room and write with others … it felt so … nice! (Excellent writing there, huh?)
Guiding these young people though the first steps of what I hope will be a lifelong writing journey has not only invigorated me as a teacher, but it’s also already provided a sense of community in regards to writing that I didn’t even realize I craved.