Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Freaking Out

I am teaching my first writing class tonight and I am totally freaking out about it.

Over the last year or so, I--along with some of my friends and other women I know--have tried to get a writing group together, but we were never able to get the critical mass necessary to keep it going. So last fall I started thinking about advertising the group through adult ed, and then I ran across this book. “Hey, I want to take this class!” I thought. But because I don’t live in New Jersey, I figured, heck, why don’t I just teach it myself? So back in November I sent the course proposal forms to adult ed and then thought, “Uh-oh, what did I just do?”

But I had plenty of time to ignore it, and then I had some fun putting together my syllabus. Last week the adult ed director called to tell me there were only three people signed up from the class. I was disappointed in the way I had planned on being disappointed when the ultrasound would reveal that, after all, I was only carrying one baby, not two. “Aw, shucks. That would have been fun. Oh well, time to move on.” But there really were two babies, and the adult ed director called later that day to say they got another registration, and we would be good to go, if I just shortened each session.

This weekend I got to planning the class in earnest and developed a four-page outline for the first class. Yesterday I photocopied all my readings (inspiration) and assignments (invitations). Today I can’t breathe. I have a feeling three of the students (one is a friend of mine—and a reader of this blog—so she knows what she’s getting into) will walk into the classroom tonight and say, “First of all, you look like you’re twelve, so how do you have kids? And what have YOU written? And what have YOU published? And who do you think you are to think you can actually get paid to teach something you don’t know anything about???”

I had initially been heartened by the fact that Lisa Garrigues had not been writing long when she started teaching, and that her mentor, Natalie Goldberg, had not been writing long when she started teaching. But that is cold comfort now, on the eve of my debut. The other cold comfort is that right now it is snowing buckets (can it snow buckets—see my metaphors suck!) and class will probably be cancelled and I will have a whole nother week in which to panic.


  1. Hey~ Would you be willing to post your syllabus? I really will try & follow along as a distance learning type thing. Really.

  2. I suspect the class will be quite good. When I started teaching, I looked about 12 and I was facing 25 teenagers each class. And I knew a lot less about writing than you do!!

  3. Hey there, I'm actually one of Lisa Garrigues' writing students in NJ and am helping her get the word out about her book's paperback release in early May. It would be great to hear how your class went and if the book helped you out. We (her students) have been just meeting as a writing group without her for the last few months as she's been teaching in New York City and the book Writing Motherhood has been a big help.


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