Save the Date

The creative writing  class I teach at MCC is already half over. I’m having fun with these people. They are writing and sharing wonderful words, all without the usual drama of “oh I hate to read out loud.” They are smart, mature, well-mannered (in other words the opposite of most of the classes I’ve taught in my 20 years on the job). They engage with me and with each other in a spontaneous and generous way.

I have never been in the presence of so much talent in one classroom. Everyone is so good. They get what I’m trying to show them. This never happens. Ever! There’s always someone, or more likely several someones, who write the same bad love poem devoid of imagery or imagination  over and over, or turn in a lame story ripped off an old CSI episode. 

Not this class. This class is the best group I’ve ever had. I know I’ve said that before! Some classes are just magic. I’m enjoying these writers and consider it a privilege to lead them on this part of their writing journey.

For several years I’ve toyed with the idea of teaching in my community. I wasn’t sure how that would look. But now I am getting a clearer picture. The face of what I think of as “teaching” is about to change. I want the magic every time now.

When I was promoting my book a few years ago, I did a two evening lecture on writing at my local library. To my great astonishment, lots of people turned up to hear what I had to say. I imagined having a DWW conference there, because the set up is perfect. But every time I brought up the idea of a conference at a DWW meeting, it got shot down.

Not this year! I’m chair of the DWW conference committee AND my library has agreed to host us. Save the date. September 15, 2012.


Have a final exam to write this weekend on Restoration lit. In the spirit of Jonathan Swift, I thought I’d write this memo to students everywhere:

How to Get an Easy A in Every Class

1. Cheat as often as you can, because everyone knows cheaters go far in life. Look at Bernie Madoff. Well before he went to jail. But still…

2. Plagiarize. Teachers know when you do it, but with the internet it’s really difficult to prove. So you get two benefits: you stick a metaphorical tongue out at the teacher and you don’t have to think!

3. Don’t bother reading the assignments. And along that same line, don’t listen to a word the teacher says. Teachers are old and do not understand the concerns of youth today.

4. Be absent as much as possible, but if there is an attendance policy, show up. That’s all you have to do! Text or catch up on Facebook while you’re there.

5. Email your teacher early and often to let her know how unfair you think her grading policies and practices are. If you don’t tell her, she’ll never know how horrible a teacher she really is. Also, she is probably picking on you!

6. Pray for the holiday break. You don’t have to believe in God. It will come anyway. And your grades will appear, sure to bring you merriment and cheer. Well done, you!