Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Yesterday morning I worked on an essay. In the afternoon I went outside and cleaned up the sticks and leaves left over from Tom's dead-tree-removal project. Then I planted beans, sunflowers, and dahlias; and then I changed my clothes and drove to a late-afternoon meeting with the executive director of a local organization dedicated to combating domestic violence. As I may have mentioned to you last fall, one of my good friends and I have been slowly mulling over ideas for joining forces in our work. She's a counselor and a social worker, I'm a teacher and a writer, and now it looks very likely that we will be doing a pilot project with the organization we visited yesterday. We will begin with a workshop for adult women; but if all goes well, it will also morph into a traveling workshop for high school girls--perhaps focusing on relationships, or parents and children, or some other topic that can be tied to the goals of the organization but will also give us a great deal of literary and creative space.

This is exactly the sort of shift I've been promoting at the Frost Place . . . a move to broaden the boundaries of teaching, to take our skills into nontraditional sites and work with individuals who are in desperate need of a voice. I came home last night in such high spirits. What could be better than working alongside people I really, really like; doing work that matters but that doesn't need to follow any sort of institutional mandate? Maybe I will even get paid, someday.

Last November I posted an essay by my friend. I'm sure, when you read it, you'll understand why I'm so excited by the idea of teaching with her.


Maureen said...

What a wonderful initiative.

Ruth said...

I know of several people who hold writing groups in the women's prison and report that it is VERY successful.