On Sweaters and Family and Cold

I submitted my final grades for my GW students yesterday. This followed my favorite part of the class (the class being a University Writing course titled “Telling True Stories: Truth and Memory in Creative Nonfiction”), a week of readings in which my students read and discuss their process and decisions from their personal essay, the final project. These are always fun, and almost always impressive, but this year they were truly outstanding. They experimented with form and point of view, with time and with style. I felt like this semester’s group also really bonded, and the outcome of this was a series of highly personal topics on which the essays were written–everything from a mother’s failed suicide attempt to the actual loss of a parent. In one hour-long session, I cried as one student read about the lifelong friendship that he formed with a classmate after turning to him for distraction after losing his brother at age five, and, immediately following, I cried from laughter at another student’s humor essay about the horrors of his family’s yearly ski trips. At the risk of over-sharing what was not intended by my students to be publicly shared, I’ll simply say this: I was blown away.

I’ve been doing more writing and less reading lately, and this morning I came back to this lovely personal essay by my former thesis director, Kyoko Mori. It’s a delightful and sad essay about the cold and what keeps us warm (or doesn’t). Worth a read if you’re looking for something good to read today: “Pullovers” by Kyoko Mori.

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