The Thing About Teaching


True story: When the clock ticked to seven pm on October 27 last fall, I looked at the roomful of writers at the Writing Barn and thought, “It’s time to start the class. Who’s the teacher?”


I was the teacher.


I looked over at Shelli Cornelison, my co teacher for the next six weeks. She was smiling at me, waiting, too, because this class of writing short fiction was my idea. As I often do when I’m a little nervous, I laughed. Then I said, “Okay, let’s get started…”

And we did.

The class, which began with a snort of laughter, ended with one of the attendee’s stories receiving an honorable mention in the Austin Chronicle’s Short Story Contest. In between, the class wrote, critiqued and revised their own short fiction as well as read published short stories by other writers. Each class member’s craft toolbox grew. They understood how important revision is in the writing process. These writers and their stories grew over the six weeks. That’s the thing about teaching writing. It’s not a top down process. Every time I sit in front of the blank page, I become a student of that story. Yes, I have an MFA. Yes, I’ve been writing for decades. Yes, I may be less awkward with some of the craft tools. But we all begin with the blank page. My job is to provide a supportive and challenging environment for you to grow as a writer.

I am excited to be joining forces with Shelli Cornelison again this fall and teaching another six week short fiction class at the Writing Barn (September 20-November15). In addition to lots of critique time for our own work, we will also read a few selected short stories for discussion. We have stretched the six-week class over nine weeks to allow for revision and pushed back the starting time to 730 to allow for traffic to abate. Each class member will receive a comprehensive list of short fiction outlets to submit their work. We will support, cheer one another on and write. Write. Write. That’s what writers do.

I will start the class.

Register here.