In December, I read The Writing Class, a humorous and suspenseful novel by Jincy Willett. The novel had not been recommended; I just stumbled upon it perched in the new fiction section of my local library. (I love the library, an extremely practical source; and in today’s economy the library keeps my book budget balanced. You should see my desk I have ten library books stacked on the right hand side and five in my library bag for library return.) Since I’m a writer, initially the title, The Writing Class, captured me; especially since I’d been a student and a leader in dozens of writing classes for more than two decades. Then the cover design: 14 diverse writing instruments with 14 character descriptions adjacent to each one intrigued me. Which one was I: the kiss up with a sharp pencil point, the smart one with a blue Uni-ball roller, the pretty girl with a red Uni-ball or the class clown with a Bic? I wondered what I could learn as a professional writer, a journal-keeper, an adjunct instructor of English, workshop leader and a student of writing or what would affirm and confirm my career choice.
After meeting all the students in The Writing Class I realized, I could be the kiss up, the smart one, the pretty girl or the class clown. More importantly, many people desire to write stories in long and short form, truth or fiction and not all want fame and fortune. The second thing I learned a writer with passion will do anything to get a good story including: terrorize, threaten, and murder the competition. Yes, The Writing Class is a murder mystery. A good writing teacher will always engage and push her students and the students will interact and write more aggressively. If the students trust the teacher, they will be candid and their writing will be honest. A group of writers weave a web of trust. A writing teacher has doubts about her own work, but can never stop writing or teaching. Not all writing instructors teach and practice.
The writing instructor in this novel reminded me that new words create new ideas and you have to introduce them to your students by any means possible. In The Writing Class the instructor’s blog: includes a list of words and letters from the most important to the least. Which letter of the alphabet would you deem least important? “Z”
So if you’re seeking some writer’s inspiration besides a good book or the library try A.Word.A.Day daily newsletter, where a group of linguaphiles introduce their readers to the magic of words. Here’s a word or two I’ve added to my vocab: cohere: to be united or to work together, which was discovered in President-elect Obama’s book Dream From My Father and flummadiddle: something worthless.
What's magically about this newsletter is all the weekly words are themes. Guess this word theme: tenderfoot, dark horse, loquacious, sacred cow, loose cannon. You guessed it, or not, metaphorical descriptions of people. Hmm, when I'm a student I can be a kiss up whose loquacious and when I'm an instructor I remain loquacious, but with eloquence and willingness to know I'm not the smart oneJ
So, despite the color ink you choose, type of writing instrument you use, if you plan to write privately or publically remember a writing class or a writing group is cohere, fun and inspirational. Did fail to mention that I’ve got two workshops on the horizon: whether you’re a tenderfoot or expert join one of my writing classes:
Transforming Life into Stories
Tuesdays: One 6-week session, 7-9p.m.
March 3, 10, 17, 24, 31- April 7, 14, 21 (No classes March 17 and April 7)
Dutchess Community College, 53 Pendell Rd. Poughkeepsie, NY
Contact Community Services 845-431-8910 or register online @ https://www.sunydutchess.edu/noncreditRegistration/.
Creative Journaling -Through My Eyes Only with Angela Batchelor
Clarify your thoughts and discover the hidden patterns of your life through journaling. Then transform your journal into a memoir as your write a slice of your own life’s story.
Thursdays: Two 6-week sessions: 1:30-3:30 pm
Series A: Feb. 26; Mar. 5, 12, 19, 26; Apr. 2 ·
nm $145 m $135
Series B: Apr. 16, 23, 30; May 7, 14, 21 ·
nm $145 m $135
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church Parish House · Route 9 and Fisk Ave. Red Hook, NY
Contact Mill Street Loft: www.millstreetloft.org or call our office at 845-471-7477.
And all you need is a pen and a passion for story.