Sunday, March 28, 2010

A moment you'll never forget

I'm reading two other books and two magazines but I just couldn't resist beginning Jon Turk's The Raven's Gift last night. I loved hearing him speak; in five pages I already love his writing.

My assignment to my writing class for next week is to write about one of those "I'll never forget" moments. I think I'll read to them the first two pages of Turk's book because it begins with such a moment. It changed his life, as such moments sometimes do. As a lab-bound chemist he had little time outdoors but one spring day he went for a walk with his dog in the mountains [Colorado]. Dog had a frenzy of hole digging in the spongy, wet earth, sniffing and going on to dig another hole and repeat. Turk didn't understand what the dog was doing and finally began sniffing at the holes himself and discovered an earth scent that seemed the essence of spring. He began to feel he needed to be outside and became an extreme adventurer and traveler, also a very good writer and story teller.

My writing class of adults over 55, are people who have experienced a great deal, they are writing more freely now than they did at first which is the point of the class [and, I realize, not entirely due to anything I did, but to their greater comfort with one another]. I will be curious what they write. I hope it will lead them to start to write something they will feel is significant, maybe not for class but after the class is completed.

I haven't read enough yet to know Turk's process but I believe that for many people putting an incident into words on paper [or computer], i.e., into visual form rather than the amorphousness of thoughts that may be fuzzed over with visual memories and sensual memories of many sorts, is the first step to understanding something important about yourself or the world around them. This is far from an original thought, but part of whatt I'm trying to both tell and show my class -- actually, not so much show, as lead them to discover as they write. My frustration, which is not very important, is that I will not know if I have succeeded because most people will only feel and discover after the fact. It's okay that I will not know, teachers almost never how much or little they've accomplished.


Kass said...

This sounds like my kind of book. I love your writing assignments. Do you have a book they come from, or do they come from your head? I'm excited for your class too. I can almost feel their enthusiasm. Good for you, June.

June Calender said...

Actually, Kass, I'm trying to work out a set of assignments and discussions that can become a book -- a Writing with the Whole Brain for those over 50 whose brains now work as a whole and are not still split right/left. There will be refining to do but maybe a proposal can get written over the summer.

Saint Dolores said...

Hi there...I'm new to the area. I just wanted to say that, as a writing teacher, you're automatically one of my favorite people and I've enjoyed reading your blog.