Sitting around a seminar table, looking at many heads of gray and white hair, listening to people helping me understand some of the best poets writing in America today -- this I couldn't have dreamed two years ago I would have enjoyed so enormously as I did this fall. On other days I enjoyed sitting with others with my hair coloring, watching DVDs of operas, watching some of the most hard hitting documentaries of the past few years and listening to discussions that seemed they could go on until midnight, helping others learn to write more vividly and honestly. This all happened at the Academy for Lifelong Learning at Cape Cod Community College, a branch of that college with over senior citizen 700 students, choosing from over 50 courses.
Today the spring semester class offering booklet arrived in the mail. Yes, my Writing With the Whole Brain class is listed and a few students have said, "I'll be there again." And there will be new people. But the decisions are what classes I want to take and how I can take more, really, than the two that are free to a coordinator. I've read through the listing twice already and that's only start. I definitely want to take the opera and documentary film, I have loved watching both. And now that I know the coordinators I know that they'll let me in even if the class is officially "full" -- because the rooms are never filled beyond the college rules [for fire department compliance]. So I can chose at least one other class and ask to be an extra, as I had to do this fall with the opera class.
The problem remains. There's at least six classes I'd love to take. Even if they were not conflicting times, I actually do not want to be a full time student although as I read the listing I feel very greedy for what I know will be good discussions. Short stories? Women muses, starting with Alice Lydell? Poetry writing? An in depth study of War and Peace? Oh, dear, oh, dear. Many classes filled up rapidly last fall and it's likely to be true this winter -- although given the sociology of Cape Cod some students are current in Florida.
It's not just the possibilities for learning, but the pleasure of being among by peers and contemporaries who have much to teach me. I've never experienced this so vividly. Yes, it was true long ago in college to an extent -- but the wisdom seemed entirely in the professors and the contemporaries were a social set. Here I admire the thoughts and insights of everyone in the room, including in my classroom -- I've learned from my students too. Which classes to take? It's a nice problem to have.
ELDER MUSIC: Drinking Songs 3 - This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge an...
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