Monday, March 01, 2010

A Last and a First

Last Saturday marked the end of the 6-week creative writing course I got to teach down in Spanish Fork through their parks and recreation program. I had a fantastic class eager to learn. I enjoyed every minute of it, and I loved watching them grow so much in just six weeks.

At our last class, Jessica G (we had two Jessicas), who decorates cakes professionally, brought a cake for our class that looked like a book. She took a picture, which is good, because we made short work of the cake. YUM! (Jessica, I really liked the lemon icing. Never did tell you.) You can see more of her cakes HERE.

(The box in the left corner says, "Spanish Fork Arts Council" and the text on the right page is the words from classic story that begins "It's a dark and stormy night.")

I've gotten thank-you cards from several class members and even a Death by Chocolate cake from Tammy, which she declared was just for ME. (She gave instructions on how to cut and freeze it in single-serving portions, thus saving it from the kids devouring the entire thing. Booyah.)

Saturday night was a showcase where all the arts classes got to present what they'd learned. The drawing, painting, and sewing classes had their work on display in the hall. The ballroom and Irish dance classes performed. The drama class did a scene. The Bluegrass class performed several songs.

And I selected a handful of class members to read some of their work aloud.

Remember, I had EIGHTEEN students. We were given about eight minutes of the program, and two of those were supposed to be me reading some of my work.

Do the math. Yeah. I had some tough choices to make.

I ended up selecting three students to read a paragraph each from a show-not-tell homework exercise (one each showing an emotion, a location, and an action). Then I picked two students to read a slightly longer scene each. They all did a fabulous job.

(Way to go, Jessica, Scott, Ashley, Olivia, and Susan!)

And then I got to read.

In all my years of publishing, I've never, ever done an official public reading. It was hard to decide what to read in the first place. Maybe, I thought, I could read the essay that won in that contest last year, since it's relative short and a complete piece.

In the end, I figured that heck, I have a captive audience and a brand new book coming out. Might as well read something out of that. But then came the challenge of trying to find something short, interesting, that also made sense in such a short excerpt from an entire novel.

I settled on the last part of chapter 3 from Band of Sisters. Overall, I think it went okay. (The camera adds ten pounds. I think I had three cameras on me.)

My husband and I went out to dinner afterward at Outback (Mmmm!). I came home feeling so proud of my class, but it was a bit bittersweet. I'll really miss our Saturdays together. I might just have to schedule a class reunion lunch or something one of these days.

Here are the class members I know who have blogs (if I've missed someone, please let me know, and I'll add you!). Some of them were sweet enough to blog about our class.

(Who drove an hour each way for the two-hour class each week. That's a FOUR-HOUR commitment each Saturday for six weeks. Whoa!)

Keep on writing, guys!


Kristina P. said...

First, Jessica makes the best cakes!

And I had no idea you even did this class. Very cool.

Rebecca Irvine said...

What fun to teach a class such as that! Great addition to your resume and an opportunity to help mentor up and coming writers.

Lara Neves said...

Cake looks delish, I'm sure you deserved it! I know you're a fabulous teacher, you teach us blog readers so much!

* said...

I love Spanish Fork! Sounds like the class was a fun, great learning experience for all participating.

Mmm, share a piece of that chocolate cake??

Jessica G. said...

Saturdays aren't going to be nearly as fun...when are are you going to teach another class?

(And thanks for the feedback on the lemon frosting and the plug for my cakes!)

Luisa Perkins said...

What a fulfilling experience! It sounds wonderful.

Sarah M Eden said...

So very cool, Annette!!

Roxy said...

Sounds like a great experience! I wish I could have been in that class. :)

Anonymous said...

I have no doubt that your class rocked (and I've heard from a few people who said it did!) That cake looks yummier than I'm willing to admit. =]

wendy said...

What a fun experience for you. How fun to be involved in things you LOVE to do....are passionate about.

and cake ---BONUS

Melanie Jacobson said...

I bet teaching was sooo fun. I totally miss it. Lucky you!

Laura said...

Teaching adds a dimension that little else can. Your students were lucky to have YOU!

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

Sounds like such an amazing experience. And what I wouldn't give to take a class from you! Those are some lucky students.

Amanda D said...

What a great experience for you! It sounds so great. Any chance you'll do your class online? :)

Ashlee said...


I miss our class already!

Thanks for teaching us. If you do another class let me know. I will be there for sure!


Rachelle Christensen said...

I bet this class was amazing. I've been to some of your conference classes and you're a super teacher!
I just gave you an award on my blog, so come check it out. :)

Cranberryfries said...

I'm so glad you told me about this class because it was seriously fantastic! I can not wait to work on my project again and I FINALLY have a few ideas fluttering around up there.

I think the best best part about this was now when I'm just out, I am getting ideas or scenes or trying to word a sentence just write to show what I'm seeing instead of telling. It's really been the key to giving me ideas on scenes or conflict to add to my story, which before was the reason I just never really started.

Thanks again for the great class. Sorry I missed the big party at the end.

Susan said...

Annette, you did so well! I loved what you read. It DEFINITELY made me want to read more from you!

I am so sad our class is over.

Thank you for the link to my blog. You rock!

jlowe said...

Annette, Thank you for teaching that class. I enjoyed it. It has improved my writing and will help tons as I do revisions and submissions. If you do another class I will be there.


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