Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Class, The Next Round

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.


Toby said...

Excellent. Sounds like you're off to a strong start. Stern mommy-figure teachers always help me kick ass. I don't really want to delve into the psychology behind that, but I just remember my first teacher conference at the Middlebury Language program. It was a summer course and didn't count toward my overall GPA, so I wasn't really working all that hard. My teacher called me on it, leveled this look at me and said, "I know you can do much better work than this, so start doing it." And I did.

Laura said...

Yeah, I'm not nutty about contemplating the whys and wherefores of that either, because it offends my feminist sensibilities.

I feel it's a helpful progression for me. My last teacher gave me confidence, so now I can withstand some tough love.

But it really is funny how we stopped with the whining and the "I can't do this!"

Laura said...

Oh, today is Thaisa's birthday.

Toby said...

Right, Facebook told me that yesterday, but it slipped my mind this morning. Off to send my regards.

Laura said...

Man, what doesn't facebook do? Does it fix your coffee in the morning too?

Toby said...

Facbook. It's where you need to be.