I am wrapping up one of my favorite courses I teach at Story Circle Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging women to tell their stories. This class is entitled, “An Experiment: Committing to Writing 20 Minutes a Day for One Month.” The goal of the class is to acquaint or reacquaint writers to the habit of daily writing. I read every submission and comment on each; every student has one or two partners a week and they provide daily comments on their work. No form of writing is wrong in this class and it’s not a class where I spend lots of time line editing. I will admit that sometimes I jump in for a grammar correction or two, but that is simply because I feel like it. My only job is to operate as a cheerleader for my students’ steadfast production of that 20 minutes worth of daily writing. Nothing more; nothing less.
The best part of this class is just how well I get to know my students. Reading a wide range of their writing from journal entries to short stories to personal essays to even a poem or two or three, I get a real glimpse into everyone’s life and psyche. This is actually fascinating, particularly since this group of five women is so different. I have a physician raising four kids in Austin, a Native American woman up in the mountains of CA on an archaeological dig, a retired teacher transplanted from New York to Southern CA, a college English teacher with twin daughters in Colorado and even my own daughter, Rachael, who not only teaches for Story Circle Network but who has also recently agreed to be the organization’s new Social Media intern. The ages of my students are diverse as well, ranging from 68 down to 26. It’s a fabulously wide swath of human experience that I get to read every day.
We will end our class next Monday and I’m already feeling sad to say goodbye to this group. They have been open, responsive and responsible, taking their commitment to 20 minutes a day of writing seriously. There’s been a stumble or two along the writing way, but that’s no big deal. It’s all about picking oneself back up and moving forward without a glance in the rearview mirror.
I, hopefully, will see some of these women in my future classes. That makes our parting a bit easier. Still, I’ve come to enjoy my time spent reading about their thoughts, feelings, and general take on life. I also feel heartened by what I read. Every one of these women has a good heart, a strong mind and an impressive amount of will-power to keep up the pace of this class.
I will miss them, each and every one! I believe I need to encourage them all to start a blog so I can keep up with their writing and their lives.