The Gift of Time and Space

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Kate Maruyama

I’ve been teaching writing for over six years now and what I fell in love with is not instructing people how to write, but rather empowering people to know they can write. Sure I offer editorial services as part of the bargain and I know a lot about the how from my own experience in the field, but it seems like my students often already know so many hows. Their biggest obstacle seems to be I can’t.  Offering the simple words you can are sometimes all they need and they’re off and running.

I’ve taught at extension programs, in a college setting, in a junior high, tutoring individually and I’ve always learned so much from my students. But one aspect of giving permission to write really blew me away: it turned out that time space to write is a tangible gift.

I had one pair of guys who came into my Saturday workshop in an extension program. They seemed friendly with each other, always sat separately. The workshop was taught in the Amherst method—we do exercises, people share their work when they want to and their classmates are instructed to respond to this raw, new work with the questions What do you like? What do you remember?

For the purposes of protecting privacy, I’ll call the younger of my students Scott, a white guy in his mid-forties. The older, a Latino guy in his sixties, we’ll call Miguel. The two would talk to each other but as the class opened up for discussion, I noticed Scott called Miguel “Pops” and seemed to have a great affection for him. I thought he knew him from the neighborhood and I loved their easy friendship. One day Scott told me Miguel was going to be absent. The commute to class was an hour away and he just couldn’t do it today. I was stunned anyone would travel that distance for an extension program and asked him how they knew each other. Scott replied in his no-nonsense unblinking way, “I grew up across the street from Miguel and his family. I was fifteen and my mom was hitting me, not feeding me, doing drugs. So finally I ran away and Miguel took me in and adopted me.” Turns out Miguel was a judge and had just retired. He’d always been writing, working on stories, a book, but didn’t have time. He was busy looking after his family, after his job. Now that he was retired, the two signed up for a writing course together. Scott, who lived locally, would drive out an hour to pick Miguel up, they’d grab an early breakfast together and go to writing class together. Scott was quite pleased to be giving his Pops something he really wanted—he couldn’t exactly buy the guy a new car, but he could get him an affordable writing class. They repeated the class for three sessions.

I’ve encountered a surprising number of students who came to me as a gift. I often hear, “My daughter told me, since I was retired, I needed to get back to writing. She signed me up.” Or, “Now that my son is off at school, he says I should work on my writing.” So often I get new moms in my class, whose spouses or parents or friends have taken over child care for Saturday mornings, just so they can reclaim themselves through creating, writing-outside of parenting. I got one husband and wife pair who had signed up together as a promise to themselves. They were so encouraging of each other, it felt like a mutual gift. It seems that people not only need permission to write, they need the space to write. The designated time and place in which to create.

In honor of the holidays, we at inspiration2publication wanted to facilitate more of this kind of gift. But what do you do if you don’t live near your relative or loved one and you want them to honor their writing? What can you do if the writer in your life can’t get themselves to a writing class or can’t get out of the house? We realized that in making our program truly accessible and affordable, we’ve created the perfect space to write that can easily be given as a gift.

With an inspiration2publication four week  or two week course gift certificate, you can present your loved one with an array of classes from which to choose. They can redeem the certificate at any time and if they don’t see a course they want yet, new courses to choose from pop up every month.

With an inspiration2publication book coaching certificate, the writer in your life can get experienced guidance from their choice of book coach to help them page by page on a work in progress, or help them in starting that short story, essay, memoir, novel or collection of poems they’ve always wanted to focus on.

As easy as buying a book or a set of slippers online, just point, click and purchase. And what follows will surprise and amaze you.

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