Yesterday was the last class of the term, and I sort of enjoyed it. Both the writing from oral history class, and the fact it ended!
It's mentally exhausting reading through fascinating writing pieces and then providing feedback, especially when there's a chosen few who are very vocal and hardly allow others the time to chip in...by the time others can chip in, mostly everything that needed to be said has. But the great experience was reading classmates' fresh, made-from-scratch writing pieces on such a variety of topics, and from such a variety of voices. We did a lot of work with personal interviews and dialogue this term. That was a lot of fun.
I certainly will never consider myself a professional writer, nor do I consider what I write to be relevant enough to make a notch somewhere, but it was a fun exercise being able to do something and stay afloat among so many serious writers as my classmates are. I actually realized that I could pick up and write, and not do a bad job. That was pretty cool and I discovered something I liked about myself. I always take compliments about my writing like an unsolicited gift, I'm humbled and grateful, but I look at it like a little green alien with buggy eyes...
Two classmates in particular, Marjorie and Gerald, stick in my mind. They were tons of fun because whenever they read classmates' works, their dialogue parts were emphasized with gusto and with character. Some things came alive through their intonation and characterization, and some other materials became extremely hilarious thanks to their gusto. I always tend to appreciate the older classmates more, as they bring something extra to the mix.
This, mind you, was the "emergency" class I took when I realized to my dismay that I still had 7 credit hours unaccounted for before I could finally graduate. That was a shock, but I knew that the class' topic matter and reading material would be fascinating.
It was fascinating, and also a bit perturbing...topic matter such as poverty in Chicago's public housing, black and Jewish racism (and here), and the Chernobyl disaster. I'm not sure which of the reading material bit the biggest chunk out of my heart, but I know for sure that the book on Chernobyl really opened up my eyes to something I had not learned/read/heard anything about since the incident and the revelations it held were shocking. I basically realized that the Chernobyl disaster is an ongoing hazmat management project, which at any time, can still affect each and every one of us. And yet no one ever talks about it--well, with few exceptions.
Racism and poverty...and the crappy public housing system are no surprise, especially since, thankfully, the Chicago media do a responsible job in covering these topics to keep people alert of the needs that exist in those philosophical/public aid/human rights/social areas.
All the classes in the writing program always end on a note where the professor (whomever the professor is for that class) urges us to polish the pieces we developed and try to sell them to local magazines or other outlets. Well, I really don't have the strength to move to that level...at least not yet. We will see.
So needless to say, this term has been an emotional roller coaster. I think I will finish reading the Chernobyl book and then move on to something lighter and fictional. Perhaps finish my Stephen King book, which I haven't cracked open since I bought it on our return trip from Albuquerque. I always like Stephen's longer stories than his short story collections. Next up will be Under The Dome. I also have a few items I need to clean up off of my Shelfari I Plan To Read list. So much for free time ;) but at least it'll keep me away from social media for a couple of nights.
I think that what compels me to have things to do continuously, is a dread of not having something to do. Of lying still like I used to in my teenage years. I believe that if I keep moving forward I don't have time to dwell on melancholy topics. ;) It's kinda like what sharks do, they keep moving and keep on truckin'
But as one of my classmates told me in the parking lot last night, have a great summer whatever's left of it. Indeed. Let's all make the best of the summer while it's still here. New memories...here I come!