Tonight, I’ll be giving an informal commencement address thanking the students who’ve participated in the memoir-writing class I’ve been teaching at the Moore Free Library for the past twelve weeks. This is what I’ll say:
- Thank you for your courage to show up and bleed onto the page.
- Thank you for trusting each other and me with your stories.
- Thank you for your eagerness to learn about language and how to control it.
- Thank you for your remarkable stories about the human condition, told in engaging language that awakens your readers’ interest and compassion.
- It is this storytelling that equalizes us, and I’m humbled and honored by your generosity in sharing yours.
The class has been remarkable from start to finish: from when the librarian applied for and received a generous grant to support my teaching, to tonight, when students will hold a reading for family and friends. We’ll also eat cake.
As with any good “commencement,” this is not the end. The class will continue as a Rosefire Writers Circle, where I will lead the group in automatic writing practice. In the RWC, we practice timed writing exercises designed to prime the creative pump. This process liberates writers to focus and fly, letting loose the unknown in the wonder of words. We immediately read this new work, bearing witness to the strange and wonderful stories that emerge. And we do so by practicing deep listening in a positive response method that engenders a synergy. Participants in these groups invariably write more, write better, and write with greater confidence.