In Part 1 of this post I wrote that I love teaching creative writing, particularly memoir writing to boomers and seniors, in part because of all I’m learning from my students.
In addition to ice storms in the Old West, a nudist in San Diego, and POW life during World War II, a student who recently read a section of his autobiography to the class described the long ago discomfort between his Irish and his girlfriend’s Greek family, at the prospect of their children marrying.
He read how he ultimately came to marry his wife. Doesn’t sound soul searing, does it? But it was. His tall, lean frame hunched over his handwritten text, he cried as he read.
He happens to be a gifted storyteller, and kept us on the edge of our seats while the story unfolded. It started out light, got very dark, then broke through to a surprising, triumphant ending.
Another student wrote essays that are pretty regularly published in a local newspaper. One of them was about a trip to the Soviet Union during the years religious observance was almost completely banned there. This essay described how she slipped some devotional icons into the hands of a Russian woman, something that could have gotten them both jailed.
How fortunate I am to get these peeks into times and incidents I’d never have if I weren’t teaching these classes.
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