So, week 2 of the next 12-week writing class has just wrapped up, mercifully feeling shorter than the full 4.5 hours that it lasts. I think I like my teacher a lot, although she scares me. I feel like she's going to know if I'm phoning it in, then she will give me a laser stare that permeates my soul and darker intents. I'm actually piping up in class, even, because I want her to perceive me as fully engaged.
But I noticed last week that she does this nice thing where she takes students aside after class to give them comments, praise, support, or helpful suggestions. I know I mentioned that we're supposed to be using our lives to mine for nonfiction material, around which we develop scenes for the semester. This week, I flew by the seat of my pants with some in-class writing. After tossing a few things around in my head that felt kind of static, I started in a scene that actually happened and from there ended up conflating some things that have happened to me and integrating from others. When I read it aloud in class, I was surprised that it came out much better and more cohesively than I thought (we were doing some scene jumping and choosing different aspects to tell, so it really is a split-second thing that can turn out badly). There was a long pause after I finished reading, and when we got to the recall session, my teacher leaped in at the beginning to describe some of the scenes I set up. After class, she came up and told me that it was fabulous, that obviously she wasn't familiar with any of my other writing, but if I were considering this for my semester-long material, I had her with what I wrote. Which, you know, is quite awesome.
And even my friend who had the less-positive experience last time around seems to be getting into the feel of the class and is pretty un-self-consciously doing some nice stuff. I think she's as afraid of our teacher as I am. Possibly we've graduated from our indulgent older brother to our stern mommy teacher models.
Anyway, all and all, it's very cool. I just hope I don't lose the good mojo by tossing off something dorky, thus making my teacher need to kick my ass.