We began this June with a determination that we must provide opportunity within Bookworm for readers who are interested in the craft of writing. We know that this connection between reading and writing is not as automatic as we tend to believe and does not happen naturally. What is natural and must be celebrated is the fact that many young people are drawn to writing – they find it a mode that allows them to express themselves more articulately and are eager to strengthen this skill. Or so we are told.
So, with all the help of resource person Mariam Sandhu who is trained in teaching writing to English Language learners, has over 30 years of teaching experience from all over the world we launched TJoWW (The Joy of Writing Well).
This month’s session were scheduled for the week end past and as always, at Bookworm, we tend to get excited and enthusiastic and sent out a flurry of all kinds of social media notices , wanting simply to find notice of this workshop that we know is conceptualised and created with care and thoughtfulness.
On the morning of the workshop I hear from Jewel who has the dreadful task of accepting enquiries, that there is but ONE registration. In what is now my time honored response to weak ( read NO) response I said Jewel cancel this, too ! But, Jewel murmured, “Mariam is ready and wanting to do this workshop, even for the one. “
And so it came to pass that Asta got a 1:1 workshop and this is how Mariam felt about the whole thing.
Jewel called me from BW about two days before the session – Only one attendee had registered: “do we cancel the workshop?“
Apparently, the student, who had signed up to attend this session with its focus on the craft of Short Story Writing several weeks before, was eleven- year old Asta, who had been the youngest of our group- but already had several journals filled with her writing.
Cancel? Tell Asta, who had shown her keenness so far ahead, that we would not hold the workshop because just one person was not enough to merit our efforts and time? Honestly- that just did not seem right to me? A commitment -to share what I knew about what makes good writing- is a commitment. If others could not make the session – even those who had specifically pleaded at our last workshop that we focus our attention on the art of short story writing the next time we met- well, why should conscientious Asta have to face disappointment?
So, Jewel set up the work space, Niju pulled out 8-9 short stories books from the BW Library shelves which I wanted to use as we explored the creating of a central problem for our stories and building believable characters, leads and titles and the final “So What?”
Obviously, the 1:1 communication produced tremendous results: two satisfied souls, the teacher and the student! And lots more writing that may not have happened if we had decided ‘one sign-up just was not worth it’.
I learnt that teachers and what it means to be teaching is strong in Mariam and people like her and as September, our month of celebrating teachers here in India draws in , I want to thank her and others – who teach consistently for one or more.