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.