Interview With Terry Wilson about her upcoming creative writing class at SFCC

The Writing Creatively class is the most fun thing you can do on a Wednesday evening! The class starts on Jan. 26 and it goes till May 18; class time is 6 pm. till 8:45 pm. There are no prerequisites, and the class is worth 3 credits. The grading is Pass/Fail, and you can register for it online at http://jack.sfcc.edu; by phone (call 428-1000); or in person by going to the Enrollment Center. SEARCH UNDER HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, NOT ENGLISH, TO LOCATE IT.

My approach as a teacher is to encourage my students to do as much freewriting as possible, and to create a supportive atmosphere in the class so students can break through their writing blocks. For our text, we use Natalie Goldberg’s book, Writing Down the Bones; I feel that every student has important stories to share. The group is quite varied; some are new writers, and many are writers who just want to maintain a discipline so they keep going with their craft. We write memoir, fiction, and poetry, and sometimes students even pen songs and rap tunes during the class. I employ different exercises while we’re together so the time we spend is enjoyable: one example is a scavenger hunt where we use “found objects” to write about. We also go to Blue Corn for one class during the semester, and during this session, we blend non-fiction and fiction by writing about the food in front of us and its smell, taste, etc. as well as the noise and music we hear around us. Then we mix that into the creation of a fictional story about one of the customers in the restaurant and something that we imagine happening to that person, good or bad. We do “color walks” in one of the first weeks, so students are focusing on the sense details around them. Sometimes we also put a costume on and become a character that we then write about! In general, though, we generate a lot of new writing material, especially during the first 8 weeks of the class. During the second 8 weeks (after Spring break) we continue to freewrite, but we focus more on character, plot, setting, and dialogue. We also critique pieces if students choose to do that. At the end of the semester, we often create a class book of stories, poems, and memoir pieces. We have done public readings at the end of the term, too.

In terms of my background as a writer, I’ve had about thirty pieces published in literary magazines, newspapers, and journals throughout the US. I’ve done stand up comedy in Los Angeles, and I also wrote and performed my own one woman show at El Museo a few years ago. I recently completed a memoir called Confessions of a Failed Saint which I am now marketing. In addition, I’ve performed many autobiographical monologues in the Southwest, and I currently present my work each Monday evening at El Farol during Poetica.

I run the class workshop style, so students often get to know each other quite well. Many of my students have had their essays, stories, poems, and even books published. Writing Creatively is a perfect class to take to enter into SFCC’s Creative Writing Program because in it, you can experience many different types of writing and begin to develop a discipline. Or if you’re a more seasoned wordsmith, you can use the class to keep writing, keep getting feedback, and keep developing your skills!

I’ve loved teaching English and Writing Creatively at SFCC for the past 19 years, and I can honestly say that this class remains one of my all time favorites. If prospective students have any questions for me, they can contact me at tmwilson222@aol.com Thanks!

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