Someone said I was returning to square one, teaching writing at night. It’s been about a decade since I passed the creative writing torch at Sheridan College to other authors.(During that time I’ve continued to visit classrooms and libraries and instruct and conduct various workshops.)
But teaching at the Mississauga Living Arts Centre is not the same. Just look at my classroom. It doubles as a visual arts studio. Imagine having to shut the door so we can hear ourselves over the symphony practising across the way. (instead of the cleaning lady vacuuming). A weekly routine was asking the members of the orchestra to clear their palates of drums from our classroom’s front door. Another routine was to collect my attendance papers by walking past a row of parents and their daughters in tutus, most of them reading, some from traditional books, others devices, as they waited for class; later returning these same papers, passing through the same hallway this time listening to classical piano while these children danced, parents still reading outside the door.
But it’s never about the setting. It’s not even about the learning that you do when you try to articulate your passion through notes and exercises to your students.
On our last night together four dedicated people,of the original six,shared homemade butter tarts, cinnamon buns, and non-alcoholic bubbly. It is such a privilege to be able to get to know these four individuals so closely over eight weeks. (The cut off number to run a course is five not ten as it is for credit courses at colleges.)
We toasted creativity. I am so delighted not to have to mark and grade stories (the way I would have had to do for a college credit course.)It takes away that level of imposing values and passing judgment on writing just meant to be listened too and celebrated.
To Ryan, Glorien, Sarah and Sneya, thank you for sharing your stories with me.