November 07, 2006

Higher Education, Part II

Boyfriend and I went to our 2nd and final session of Writing a Novel Later In Life. The lady on disability and the ghost writer wannabe failed to show up, so there were only four of us in class. Angry sheet metal worker/musician/song writer/political/religious guy and radical, too-controversial-to-be-published-in-the-U.S. guy seem to be as serious about writing a novel as Boyfriend and I.

Yeah, we're serious. We're so serious we're attending a continuing education class rather than earning a degree in the arts or journalism. But again, I have to say that the little old man who taught the class was cute as a button and so proud of his novel. I also have to say again I felt inspired listening to him tell his story.

It was also especially adorable when he told of his conundrum, when writing the novel, of getting his main characters to fall in love at first sight - in the setting of a concentration camp. In his whisper of a voice he told us his secret. "I had to make it a sexual attraction." There's just something really strange about hearing an oldster talking about sexual attractions. It made me a little uncomfortable, but Dr. Author seemed rather proud that he pulled it off. He read an exerpt from his book about the "stirrings" experienced by his female character, a woman dying from starvation and brutality in a concentration camp, when she first laid eyes on the handsome U.S. officer. I've never been close to death, but it seems to me that "stirrings" would be pretty unlikely under those circumstances, and if they did occur, they would be quite an annoyance. But according to Dr. Author, sexual attraction can and did happen in a character in the throes of Nazi Germany, dying, and feeling pretty darn bad.

We had the opportunity to buy his book as he brought a few copies with him to class. I felt kind of bad not buying one, as the poor guy is self-published and this class was probably some kind of promotional gig for him to sell books.

I think Dr. Author liked me the most of all his students. All four of us. I think he knew I romanticize the idea of being a writer, and he was proud to be living proof to me that one can indeed become a writer, even when one is entering the twilight of his life. I felt an encouragement from him that was unspoken. I know if I ever do write a novel, or have any story form published, I'll try to locate him and tell him that I did it. He'll probably never remember me, but it will make him feel good to know that he and his story mattered to me, and helped me on my way to success. I can only hope that I'll be able to write about "stirrings" when I'm his age.

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