Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Writing Class

Today was my first writing class. It was good, the students seemed very happy. I covered the first part of the creative process, in which I discuss the differences between our right and left brains, and the wonderful subconscious. We did exercises to help us learn how to shut off our left brains and access the right. It sounds a little silly to talk about turning off half our heads, but each side has a role to play in the creative process, and each has to allow the other side to do its job.
(If anyone is interested in learning more about how to write and what I cover when I teach, let me know and I’ll do a blog on that.)
Being an incredibly giving and dedicated teacher, or a glutton for punishment, I told the students that I’d be formally scheduled to teach only every other sea day, which means about 30 one hour classes over the whole cruise. When asked if they’d like to meet more often, most said yes, and so I’ve arranged for us to meet in the Explorers lounge, one of the many sitting areas which is a bar only in the evening. I’ll be there at 4:00p.m. on the days I’m not on the schedule and will hold a class, although I’ll have to keep the more exuberant exercises for the days we’re in the theatre, because they can get noisy and people often use the Explorations Lounge as a quiet place to read, since it’s across from the library. And on 4:00 p.m. on the days I am scheduled to teach, as well as the class at 2:00, I’ll have office hours, a chance for people to give me things to read, which I’ll comment on during the next office hour. I also find many people want to come and just talk, about writing but often about other things. I’ve learned that as a writing instructor, I become a confidante in many ways. Since writing, even if it’s not autobiographical, reveals something about the writer, people want to share, to receive affirmation and explore their thoughts and ideas. Three people came by today, which is impressive considering the writing class wasn’t advertised ahead of time, and so they couldn’t have known to bring stuff. So I have three things to read.
One person who brought me a story was concerned that I was taking on too much, which I thought was very considerate of him. I’ve learned over my years of teaching to set limits on the time and energy I give. I limit any submission for detailed comments to no more than ten or twenty pages, depending on how many people are in a class. I learned to do this after someone gave me a 300-page novel.
I like to be available to my students and I want to teach more than every other sea day. It’s why I’m here, and I want to do the best job I can. And I still have lots of time to do other things. No teaching on any port days, for example. And I’ll still be doing only two hours a day on sea days. The book club will add another hour on sea days, although I don’t know yet how often we’ll meet for that.
It’s a perfect combination of travel, teaching and interaction with students, and time to do the things I want to do. So far the things I’m spending time doing are writing, sewing, downtime to read or whatever, exercise, and some socialization. I play the trivia game every sea day, and really enjoy the people at my dinner table. I haven’t gone dancing any evening yet, but hope to soon. I plan to take the drama class, and want to start attending the watercolour class. I could also do play bridge, take dance classes, attend lectures, take arts & crafts, play paddle tennis, which is kind of like racquet ball with a tennis ball, only slower, play chess, play ping pong, watch movies in the theatre or on the DVD player in my cabin, swim in one of the two pools and sit in one of the the hot tubs, have my hair cut, get a massage, have acupuncture or a mud bath or any of several spa treatments, take yoga or aerobics classes, lift weights and go on the treadmill (which I have started doing), attend cooking and bar tending classes, or just sit and eat for twelve hours a day. And those are just the things I can remember right now.


  1. I really enjoyed your description of your teaching plans. I'd love to hear more about some of the people you've met. And the many activities you have to choose from sound amazing (I'd love to take the cooking and drama classes or play the trivia game). What is Melissa doing on sea days--is she helping you with your classes?

  2. I'm sure enjoying your blog, Judy! And you sound really good too. I love living vicariously through friends! I look forward to your posts. It's strangely warm here in Toontown; +4C yesterday! Hi to Melissa!

  3. This is great, Judy! I just caught up on your last few posts. Can I have your life? You are a generous teacher and it's really nice that you give the students that additional time. Are most of the passengers from North America? Do things like haircuts cost much more than they would on land? I'm looking forward to the next post.

  4. You never mentioned sleeping. I'm wondering when you will find the time. Happy cruising!