Saturday, July 5, 2008

I love my students!

They are amazing. They sign up for a continuing education course at a community college and have no idea until they get there what they’ve gotten themselves into. I try to tell them the very first night. Actually, I’ve started telling them in advance by e-mail, but I don’t think they really understand until I start assigning homework.

After all, the class is called “Writing Publishing and Promoting Your Nonfiction Book.” Surely one thinks they are going to do all that in only six weeks (one night a week) without homework. But they are such good sports. Sometimes, they even take the class a second time or sign up for the “graduate” program for those who have been through the basics at least once.

They do everything I ask: come up with a single sentence starting with “My book is about …”; write a proposal, which they really fight tooth and nail; organize their yet-to-be-written books on the computer; sort through a gazillion handouts without hyperventilating; construct a viable outline; and write chapter summaries.

And if they are amazing, their topics are even more so. In my last group, which was actually the "graduate program," here’s what they were writing about:

o Surviving loss, cancer, stroke, 12 children, and more and still smiling
o Making all the mistakes one can make in life, yet marrying prince charming, and living happily ever after
o Living and prevailing with bipolar disorder
o Keeping your aging, dying parents at home until the end of their lives
o The spiritual lessons learned at every pivotal stage of life
o Researching the history of your heritage home one agonizing step at a time (See Connecting Links: My House History.)
o The memoir of a “hidden child” of the Holocaust
o The importance of estuaries and how we must preserve them
o Getting fit by 50 (starting at 49)

There will be book signings! Stay tuned for further announcements.