You may not remember me, but a few years ago I took my first-ever creative writing class with you… The class had such a profound impact on me that I immediately applied to graduate programs to pursue a Master’s Degree in creative writing. I was fortunate to be accepted to a wonderful school in Los Angeles, and recently graduated with distinction. I have also completed my first novel, and many times throughout the writing/editing process, I would sometimes hear your voice in my head saying, “Show, don’t tell,” and, “Watch for excessive modifiers.”
I also teach English now, and I’ve realized how meaningful it can be to hear from students who have valued your instruction. To that end, I want to thank you for giving me my first “push” and encouraging me to continue doing what I love. I plan to move back to Seattle in the coming months, and I hope I’ll run into you sometime so I can thank you in person.
I hope you’re continuing to teach and to inspire.
Thanks for a fun and interesting class. I appreciate how you value each student for their individual voice and style, and how you encourage and bring out the best in each of us. I always learn new and effective ways to look at things when I take one of your classes… – Barb B. (Bellevue)
Thanks again for the writing class this quarter. I found your comments on my stories, and other students’ stories, helpful and to the point. You said what you thought, but without trashing anybody. I also appreciated being able to hear other students’ comments on what I’d written. – Megan C. (Edmonds)
I took it because I was “stuck” in journaling, and wanted to shake myself loose and open up my writing abilities and inclinations in some new directions. Your suggestions and comments were great. I’m unstuck. Thank you!!!! I’ll be back in the fall to take the class again. – Marie L., Lake Forest Park
Writers on writing:
“The most interesting thing about writing is the way that it obliterates time. Three hours seem like three minutes. Then there is the business of surprise. I never know what is coming next. The phrase that sounds in the head changes when it appears on the page. … That’s why I go on, I suppose. To see what the next sentences I write will be.” – Gore Vidal
“A writer is a vehicle. I feel the story I am writing existed before I existed; I’m just the slob who finds it, and rather clumsily tries to do it, and the characters, justice. I think of writing fiction as doing justice to the people in the story, and doing justice to their story – it’s not my story…” – John Irving
“I’m sure that writing isn’t a craft, that is, something for which you learn the skills and go on turning out. It must come from some deep impulse, deep inspiration. That can’t be taught, it can’t be what you use in teaching.” – Robert Lowell
“Maybe writing can’t be taught, but editing can be taught.” – Donald Barthelme