Friday, July 9, 2010

Creative Writing Class: Pen Men

My last post for my Creative Writing class was in April, since my daughter gave birth to her second child at home on May 7th! I haven't been back to the minimum security facility since then, and I miss my Pen Men. I brought home a severe respiratory infection, a gift of my first born granddaughter (2 yrs. old!). As a teacher, I managed to fight off most infections by eating well, and exercising. Doing night time burpings was quite a feat for someone my age!

The reason I facilitate the writing group is partly because of a request from the Chaplin at our local penitentiary for someone to run a creative writing group. There was someone doing it, a retired teacher, but she is now caring for an ill family member and cannot manage it. The idea appealed to me. They wanted to be there, no one was forcing them to do so.

In fact, the first session there were 11 men, that decreased to a regular 4 or 5, as they realized I was neither young, cute, and was middle-aged. No everyone wants to play with words and language.

I have told the men that I very much enjoyed teaching, but lost the patience for it when burned out being caregiver for my parents. With a M. Ed. in Curriculum, I love putting together curriculum units. It is rewarding having a purpose in life. After taking an early retirement, my volunteer work keeps me going.

I am going back to facilitating this class, it really isn't teaching, as it is more of a cooperative. We take ideas, share our work, and create writing exercises. It isn't work, and it spurs me to do more writing. The past two months have been whirlwind as we have put our house up for sale in the interest of moving closer to the grandkids. For many in institutions, one can find those with learning disabilities, or social or emotional issues that exacerbate the learning process. I thought that by helping improve the quality and quantity of writing, that I might make up for the horrible teachers some of these men had faced in their lives. For there are a few.

Next post I will feature a piece of writing one of my participants shared as an intro to our class. I hope you find it interesting.

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