During the time when the shutdowns were more intense, I decided to take advantage of some of the things I could finally get around doing. And since much of my time is taken from churning out this here newsletter, I had to fulfill the space that would normally be allowed for film and theater reviews. And since there was no theater or movies to review, something had to be done.
And what best way to place my musings on this page was to create original content, the kind of stuff that isn’t more repeats of vital statistics of the current media. In fact, when we did a formal informal poll on what our readers (that’s you by the way), wanted to see within these here pages, that reply we obtained was for content that came from the almost personal life and times of yours truly a.k.a me!
Now granted, I was at first used to be a so-called standard journalist type. This would be a person that would create a report that gave the facts of an event of an occurrence. However, when it ever became a so-called slow period news-wise, I would create some form of musings that would deemed fit for our readership, as well as keeping within the scope to what Accessibly Live Off-Line was all about.
So I though I’d brush up my Shakespeare (so to speak) on practicing writing first person episodes of the life and times of yours truly. It wouldn’t necessarily be an autobiography of me, giving a play-by-play blow of how I started from rags to riches (or riches to rags, depending how I felt), but to extract a slice of life tale what was part of my well-being.
So I was able to find a class on creative writing offered by one of the local community colleges in the region. This class, offered through the application of the year, Zoom, would be a class that “gathered” once every week for some two hours per session. Here, the instructor would lead us in a few writing assignments that dealt in various topics based on what the group’s leader would suggest.
I will state before I continue in this tale that this class was part of a series of classes offered with the umbrella title “Encore”, geared to those that were of a certain age i.e. Seniors. Although the minimum suggested age was 50 and over, most of what was offered in the college catalog (printed on paper no doubt), appeared to favor those that were close to the traditional retirement age. This would roughly translate to those 60 and over, since those of that period in life would likely have more time on their hands to commit to a class. And for the Spring session, the classes that were formally offered in traditional classroom settings, everything was pushed (forced?) online. Many of those older are somewhat hip to high tech applications, so getting online would be rather easy(er). Then again, their adult kids and even their grandkids would lend a hand on setting up the computer device and/or smartphone in getting them stated online.
Anyway, back to my tale. This writing class featured about a dozen or so students on board. If you want to count myself, we consisted of a happy baker’s dozen. And since I guess of who was on board does fit my guess of demographic makeup, everyone appeared to be 60 and over, the eldest person was eight-two years of age! (I know this fact because the woman stated she was 82, and had the personality that backs this fact up!)
The instructor, who appeared to be in her early 70s, gave one assignment where we would write about a few topics from our no-so distant past. She suggested to take our current age and divide that age by twelve. This would mean one would write upon a selected topic that occurred at age zero through twelve. Then the next phase would be around the time the writer was twelve to twenty-four, and so on.
The topics the instructor picked was something in the nature as Where did you live? Who took care of you? Did you have any pets? What is your earliest memory? You kinda get the idea!
So we were given this assessment, and we would have to read it to the class for the next session. I myself, looked at this list and found it to be rather amusing. If appeared that when people are heading toward the final stages within their life, they left more ground behind that what they are heading towards. In other words, lots of these folks have more of a past to comment upon that a present or even a future to speak of. Yeah, I somehow get the stereotype that those of the “baby boomer” generation knew what it was like living back in the “good old days”, as well as knowing what is right, or should be right. They may think that Tic-Tok is the sound that a clock makes, but at least a telling (or retelling) of a past life has its amusing notions. After all, I somehow got caught in that web, so I should talk!
Anyway, a week went by and now it’s the second class. Yes, just about everyone present (two people were missing) had a short essay to read. Once that essay was read by the writer, we were given the chance to comment upon the writings, using points on the content of the subject, how is was composed, how detailed it was, how it was based on “the facts”, and other points. Many of those present admitted that they were far from being professional writers, but each one had their proper grammar and context to what makes an essay something worth reading. Then again, this is from a generation that were weened on writing real letters on paper, rather that knocking off tweets at forty characters or less, not counting a hashtag or three!
I personally found many of these people’s writings as rather well crafted. Many did give off enough descriptions where one can use their imagination to “see” in their minds, the people, places, and things that made up of the entries everyone churned out!
I can’t say that everyone was playing an intentional or unintentional game of “can you top this?” where everyone is making some feeble attempt to become the best writer inside of the writer’s room! After all, they were writing one of those eight million stories in the naked city that came from different places and periods of life. Some entries were funny, a few were dramatic, and even one or two teetered toward sadness. But they were there for what they were worth.
When it came to my turn to submit my part of the assignment, I somewhat cheated. Given the fact that I didn’t get around to doing my homework until the last minute, I just grabbed a back column I created previously for ALO-L, and adapted it for this class. You might say I was stealing from myself!
But that’s OK though! I wasn’t worried if my entry wasn’t too good for these folks. In fact, it appeared as the total opposite! Some of these other entries the class submitted was pretty decent for what they were. One person’s tale of living in San Francisco in the post-war years of the 1940’s could have been something out of a Sam Spade yarn, where the gumshoe saw his town located off the bay to be dingy, dirty, or overall, a gritty mess! If was far from the San Francisco of now where everything is over gentrified, if not priced out of a league of earning 200k a year that wasn’t good enough for a down payment of buying a tool shed!
Anyway, the output of the class’s writing were still decent nevertheless. Of course, I only enrolled in this class not so much for revamping my skills, but because it was there. And the price of enrollment was right. (Free, ‘natch!)
For the record, I only stayed on for one more session. I dropped out after the third! Not because I didn’t care to continue, but the fact that a trade group I belong to decided to host their sessions via Zoom on the same day at the same time! After all, business comes become pleasure, so I just took the lesser of the two evils!
I can’t say how the class did on their other lessons. But based upon the entries read on sessions two and three, I will state that each one could receive a passing grade! Then again, it was a class to give somebody something to do–if I myself only had the the same luxury! Then again, I could catch up on my TV binge watching, but that’s for another session as that stands!
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