Monthly Archives: May 2012

Roy Miki’s Last Class–A Case of Continuing Ed.

At The Writers’ Union Conference this weekend, I ran into many people from my past.  I was delighted to see B.C. writer and poet, Roy Miki.  Roy was a long-time professor at Simon Fraser University and I had the great privilege of being in the last class he taught before his retirement–a fourth level English course on bio-writing projects.

“It was my last class, so I had nothing to lose,” he said.  Academic perfection was no longer his aim.  Rather, his desire was to help his students discover the deepest levels of their creativity.

He said it was a great class, and that many of the students had gone on to do wonderful things:  publish books, or pursue their PhD’s or work in other artistic mediums.

I showed him a copy of my book, Unforgiving, The Memoir of an Asperger Teen  and we talked about how it began as a 3500 word bio-excerpt in his Creative Writing Class.  He remembered it well, even the photo I had used on the project cover, which is now on the back of the book.

Later, in a chance encounter, he asked me what I would do next.  I told him a bit about my next project, a study of a BC unsolved crime involving the axe murder of two children.  In the brief time that we talked, he led to me some key insights into the project, how to approach it, where my strengths lie, and insisted I must begin at once.  “Don’t put it off,” he advised me, “You’ve done the research, so just start writing.”

When we are students sitting in a classroom, we can never know where that moment will take us.  How fortunate I was to find myself in Roy Miki’s Last Class.  And how marvellous that it’s turned into a sort of continuing ed program just by virtue of his generous advice.

You can find Roy Miki’s books at: Roy Miki at Amazon and look up his illustrious career on The Writers’ Union of Canada member pages.

Yours truly,

Margaret Jean.

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The Ram’s Head Writer’s meeting is always engaging.  Hosted by Lisa Hatton in her home, it’s a friendly get together of several writers at varying stages in their careers.  Lisa is disbanding the group temporarily while she goes for surgery, and the camraderie and Lisa herself will be sadly missed.  When we left, we all admonished her to get well soon and email us the minute the meetings were back on.

Most people read some of their work, and the stories were engaging, the critiquing, sound.  Some of us got stuck on the word “inception” and a lot of discussion followed about the appropriate usage of the word.   We heard children’s stories, and in contrast, Jason read a chapter where his murderous antagonist runs amuck.  All great stuff.

For me, the hardest part about writing a book is understanding how it sounds to readers.  Last night at Lisa’s, I read chapter eleven of Unforgiving aloud.  I chose that chapter because it deals with the predator stalking Margaret Jean, choosing her as his target, and testing the family waters to see how the family will react.  This is a tense chapter largely fueled by a child’s outrage.

While reading, I looked up occasionally to see if my audience was engaged.  They were sitting up, leaning toward me, totally focused.  After the meeting, they all handled the book, some jotted down the title, and asked me where they could buy the book. 

I drove home, thrilled and excited.  Until I realized what I had forgotten– That I had five copies of the book in my trunk!

The Ram’s Head…

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Asperger Dreams

Falling into sleep after a hectic day at work, I wondered what the world would look like if Simon Cowell, Kevin O’Leary and Larry Winget ran it…

Can’t help but wonder just exactly how that would work…

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