By Leslie J. Hall
I have taught writing classes at North Seattle College and other locations around the Northwest for over 25 years. Writing is my passion. I love words, stories, and language. I've also received much joy in sharing my love of writing with others. I am also passionate about making connections and the powerful energy that comes when creative people get together.
I'm somewhat of a writers class/conference junkie. I sign up for everything because I love to learn. I believe there is always something new to gain, even if I've heard lectures on a topic before. Plus, I love hanging out with other writers and soaking up the creative energy when we all get together. Teaching writing classes gives me the same rush, the same jolt of creativity to keep writing. I learn as much from my students as they learn from me. But in the world today, we aren't supposed to get together. Distance is more important than gathering. Can we create the same connection, the same energy, if we're on Zoom?
Spring quarter became an experiment in just that. I teach a Beginning Fiction Writing Crash Course. My goal is to inspire anyone who has always wanted to write or has a story just waiting to be told, to take a leap and give it a try. It’s easier to begin if you know the fundamentals.
Six brave students joined me on the journey to a new world. They came enthusiastically ready to learn and write. We met once a week for six weeks. It was different, for sure, but we still walked the path to learning, supported each other’s ideas, and had a little fun.
Was is it the same as an in-person class? Is using online technology give us the same experience? No. It was different. Did we still make connections and get excited about writing? Yes!
Perhaps students who, in the pre-Covid world wouldn't have been able to get to the College for six evening classes, joined for this new way of learning. With online classes, perhaps someone who was unsure about technology took a chance and made it happen. My 80-year-old parents, who didn't even have a computer with a microphone, are participating in their church online!
I always thought of real connections as being a physical thing, looking someone in the eye, shaking their hand. But exploring this new way of learning, still keeps us connected. Seeing faces and chatting live with people I know, helping me survive this period of insecurity. And at the same time, I’m keeping up with lifelong learning and human connections, two things that have always been my way of making sense of the world.
Leslie J. Hall has written eight novels, six of them mysteries. Her non-fiction has appeared in many local and national publications. She is a co-founder and facilitator of Write Night, a local weekly writers group. Learn more about Beginning Fiction: Crash Course.
Photo Credit: Matilda Wormwood