Winning Them Over (all over again)
Even though I taught this same (fiction writing) class this winter, I was still nervous all day as I prepared for my second run last week. I knew that the class was smaller, 4 people, to be exact. This could be good, I thought, or very bad. We could become a lovely, intimate group, comfortable with one another immediately. Or, we could quickly burn through the material I had for them and be left twiddling our thumbs. This scenario ended in everyone dropping the class and calling me names (though not to my face).
I think too much.
As it happened, I walked into class, once again in the dining room of the historic Corbin house, met my 4 students (all women this time) listened to their stories about why they were there, told them my (short version) story of being there and went about earning their trust by presenting exercises which I found very helpful throughout my writing journey and words of wisdom that have gotten me (and kept me) going.
By the end of the class, I knew a lot more about these students: the 60-something who lives in the middle of nowhere, has written “almost all of” a “very naughty” romance novel, has received stories through channeling and talks with animals, the 13 and a half year old who got into the 14 and up class by the skin of her teeth, is home-schooled, meticulous and articulate. The mother and daughter (apparently, there’s one set in every class) who both text in class, but also write down what I say. The mother has been writing as long as she can remember, the daughter is just here to “see what the deal is.” She is 27, the mother, 54.
I quoted Hitchcock and referenced Dickens. I referenced my “previous classes” from time to time to lend necessary credibility. We laughed.
By the end, they thought it was a great idea to begin with character. They felt that it had been instructive, even, dare they say it: fun. They said thank you. No one called me names or said anything about dropping the class. I’ll keep you posted.